November 13, 2018

Exposure study reveals multiple, previously undisclosed Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the blood of Wilmington-area residents; confirms additional Chemours plant discharges are impacting population

Wilmington, N.C. – The Center for Human Health and the Environment at North Carolina State University today released results from a blood serum analysis which revealed the presence of multiple, previously-undisclosed Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), belonging to the same family as GenX, in the blood of Wilmington residents along the Cape Fear River.

The samples, which were taken in November 2017 and May 2018 from more than 300 participants, revealed the presence of five fluorochemicals in the residents’ blood, including Nafion byproduct 2, PFO2HxA, PFO3OA, PFO4DA and Ester Vinyl Ether. Chemours is the only known manufacturer of these fluorochemicals on the Cape Fear River.  

“What began as a search for GenX has led to the discovery of a Pandora’s box of chemicals in residents’ homes and bodies,” said Co-Lead Counsel Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, the attorneys representing plaintiffs in a class action suit alongside Co-Lead Counsel Steve Morrissey of Susman Godfrey LLP. “We know that this family of chemicals is dangerous. We know that this company has a history of irresponsibly dumping toxic waste into the Cape Fear River – and hiding their conduct from state regulators. We now know that this toxic dumping goes far beyond GenX.”

Extensive studies have found that PFAS accumulates in a very broad array of plants and microbes such as those found in residential and commercial plumbing. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS are persistent in the environment and in the human body, do not easily break down, and exposure can lead to adverse human health effects.

GenX was not detected in the residents’ blood serum, however, “The damage has already been done,” said Steve Morrissey of Susman Godfrey.

“These tests show what the plaintiffs in our case have known all along: what Chemours puts in the water is damaging these communities’ health and livelihoods,” continued Morrissey.

Additional Background:

In March, The Chemours Company (NYSC: CC) asked a judge to dismiss the class action case Carey, et al. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc., et al. In response, Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll and Susman Godfrey filed an opposition brief laying out the reasons the case should be allowed to proceed, highlighting Chemours’ history of violating the law and not disclosing the truth, and outlining how Defendants had applied the wrong standard of review, ignored longstanding legal principles, and falsely claimed that essential elements of plaintiffs’ claims were missing. Researchers have revealed that GenX is far more toxic than originally thought, may even be airborne, and is known to cause cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.  According to the suit, Chemours disregarded internal test results before illegally dumping hazardous chemicals into North Carolina’s Cape Fear River, and then misled government regulators about its conduct.

For more information on the Cape Fear River, NC Water Contamination Litigation, click here.

Media Contact

Justin Greenberg, justin.greenberg@berlinrosen.com, (202) 800-7410