In 2016, state officials discovered that the water in a large part of Bennington County was laced with over 140 times the recommended safe maximum level of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a known carcinogenic compound. Although the Vermont Health Department responded promptly, that action probably came too late to be of much use to thousands of victims, since the former Chemfab plant in North Bennington had leaked PFOA into the water for decades. Now, area residents have a choice. They can suffer in silence, or they can take action in court.
The experienced lawyers at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC routinely handle cases just like this. In fact, we have obtained over $1 billion for victims just like you. So, we have developed proven methods that yield a maximum amount of compensation in a minimal amount of time. The bottom line is that we fight for you, and the results speak for themselves.
How Did This Happen?
As the name implies, Chemfab combines fabric and chemicals – mostly polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE), which is closely related to PFOA – to create nonstick and fire-resistant products. At its height, the Bennington plant employed hundreds and turned out thousands of these products. But with every PFTE-coated belt and shirt, large amounts of this dangerous chemical leaked out of the plant and into the local water supply.
Faced with mounting evidence about the adverse consequences of chemical exposure, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Chemfab and other companies began either greatly reducing or eliminating their PFOA emissions. But by that time, the local water supply in many parts of Vermont was already contaminated.
PFTE, PFOA, and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS, one of the main ingredients in Scotchgard), are used in so many applications because these chemicals are very stable, making them easy to work with and very long lasting. But the chemical companies did not seem to notice or care that these substances had the same effect on people. Once they work their way into the body through the water, these chemicals remain there for a very, very long time.
How Does It Affect My Family?
The human body is a complex and delicate organism, so any artificial substance above trace amounts often eventually causes serious injury. Making matters worse, PFOA tends to accumulate in areas that affect vulnerable children, like the blood around the umbilical cord and in breastmilk.
Many researchers believe that PFOA and its chemical cousins essentially weaken the immune system, increasing the risk for chronic conditions like:
- Peripheral Artery Disease: One study found that abnormally high PFOA levels increased the risk of PAD (hardening of the arteries) by 78 percent.
- Cancer: Multiple studies have linked PFOA exposure to thyroid cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and other forms of cancer.
- Developmental Disorders: Probably because developing infants and newborns are exposed to so much PFOA, many of these children may never reach their full potential.
When heated, PFOA becomes chemically similar to phosgene, a devastating poison gas that was responsible for about 85 percent of the poisoning casualties in World War I.
What Can I Do?
At Napoli Shkolnik PLLC, we file negligence lawsuits for two reasons. First, a lawsuit is usually the only way for victims to obtain the financial resources they need to deal with cancer and other chronic illnesses. Similarly, in the event of an untimely death, a lawsuit usually provides some financial security to assuage part of the grief that these families feel.
Second, corporate America usually only speaks the language of money. So, if juries award large punitive damages in PFOA contamination cases, and they often do, these verdicts send a strong message that ordinary people will not tolerate the degradation of their environment in order for a company to pad its profits.
Start your claim for damages by calling the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at Napoli Shkolnik PLLC for a free consultation. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.