In 2009, under mounting pressure from environmental law attorneys like Paul Napoli, DuPont began using a compound called GenX to produce many consumer products, including Teflon. Chemours, a DuPont subsidiary that produces Teflon and other products, insisted that the PFOA replacement was safe. But GenX has been linked with cancer and numerous other serious health problems.
Now, there is GenX contamination in Wilmington, and the aggressive attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik are determined to protect the health and safety of the people in the affected communities. We understand that there is no such thing as a "safe" PFOA, and we stand ready to fight for these victims in the same way we stood up for people in Flint, Long Island, and other places where chemical companies polluted the water supply to such an extent that it is now unsafe to use.
What is Gen X?
Ammonium 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy) propanoate is the "new" Perfluorooctanoic acid, so it is found in many barrier-creating consumer and industrial products, such as Teflon, stain-resistant carpet, and firefighting foam. Since it just entered widespread use in 2010, the substance is almost completely unregulated.
Like PFOA, GenX is a very stable chemical that almost never weakens, so it is a very sought-after chemical component in the products mentioned above. Unfortunately for victims, this same quality means that GenX runoff remains in water almost indefinitely, a condition that set the stage for GenX contamination in Wilmington.
Gen X Hazards
For decades, PFOA has been widely regarded as one of the most carcinogenic substances on earth. So, it is not at all surprising that its successor chemical has also been linked to:
- Liver cancer;
- Kidney disease;
- Testicular cancer;
- Liver disease;
- Pancreatic cancer;
- Uterine polyps.
As a matter of fact, during GenX development, DuPont filed more than a dozen statements with federal regulators which indicated that the chemical might be dangerous to humans. Such intentional disregard for health and safety sets the stage for significant punitive damage awards, as outlined below.
Gen X Contamination in Wilmington
In parts of North Carolina and Ohio, environmental investigators found GenX levels well above 600 parts per trillion, which is an unsafe PFOA level according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Levels this high are unsafe for almost everyone, but especially young children, expecting mothers, senior citizens, persons with pre-existing health conditions, and other vulnerable population groups. And, since GenX has already leaked into the groundwater, cleanup will be very expensive if it occurs at all. Therefore, many area residents may not be able to safely drink the contaminated water for several generations hence.
Chemours has consistently defended its manufacturing process, and local officials insist that they are immune from liability because GenX is not officially a restricted-use chemical.
Building a Successful Claim
Since the plaintiff has the burden of proof in negligence cases, all successful claims are built on strong evidence and persuasive legal arguments.
There is no shortage of evidence that GenX contamination in Wilmington may lead to the chronic and serious health issues mentioned above. However, the plaintiff must also connect the chemical poisoning with a specific illness.
To establish this link, environmental law attorneys often point to abnormal spikes in certain geographic areas. For example, if the proportion of testicular cancer victims is abnormally high in and around Wilmington, it is logical to conclude that GenX may be the culprit.
Negligence plaintiffs need not "prove" anything. They must only show that their version of events is slightly more credible than the defendant's narrative.
Cancer is now much more treatable than it was in the 1990s when death rates reached their peak, but this treatment is very expensive, as chemotherapy and radiation treatments alone often cost upwards of $30,000 a month.
If the defendant's conduct fell below the legally acceptable standard of care, victims are entitled to financial compensation for these economic losses. Moreover, an attorney can often arrange for victims to receive cancer treatments, and even advanced surgical procedures, at no upfront cost.
Compensation for noneconomic damages, such as loss of enjoyment in life, is available as well.
Moreover, in cases like the GenX contamination in Wilmington, jurors often award substantial punitive damages. That's because polluting chemical companies often ignore clear warning signs and continue producing cheap products that devastate the environment.
GenX contamination in Wilmington may have permanently tainted the area's water supply. If you or a loved one has suffered because of the chemical company's negligence, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC for a free consultation with an experienced environmental law attorney in New York. We have offices in multiple states.