• 39°

North Carolina sues for damages in ‘forever chemicals’ release

By Gary D. Robertson, Associated Press

The state of North Carolina sued on Tuesday to seek financial damages from companies associated with so-called “forever chemicals” released for decades from a Bladen County plant into the Cape Fear River.

Attorney General Josh Stein, who is also a plaintiff in the lawsuit filed against companies related to DuPont Co. and its spinoff The Chemours Co., accused the firms of knowing the dangers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, that were produced at the factory.

GenX, a type of PFAS, has been found in drinking water wells near the plant and also the municipal utility serving the city of Wilmington, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) downstream. The lawsuit, filed in Cumberland County state court, seeks financial compensation from the companies to the state for investigating the contamination, providing remediation and restoring water supplies.

The litigation comes two months after Stein announced his office would investigate the manufacturers of PFAS and other potential sources of the chemicals.

Some research shows high levels of certain PFAS may lead to increased risks for kidney or testicular cancer, increased cholesterol levels and health challenges for children, according to the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

“DuPont and Chemours have dumped PFAS into North Carolina’s drinking water even as they knew these forever chemicals pose threats to human health and our natural resources,” Stein said in a news release. “These companies maximized their profits at the expense of the people of North Carolina. That’s wrong. I am taking DuPont and Chemours to court to make them pay for the mess they made.”

In 2015, a Chemours subsidiary formally took over the Fayetteville Works plant from DuPont, which had been manufacturing PFAS, at least as a byproduct, there since at least 1980, according to the lawsuit. PFAS are used in industrial processes to make things like nonstick coatings and fire suppression foams. The chemicals do not break down when released into the environment.

Dan Turner, a DuPont spokesman, said in an email the company believes the lawsuit is without merit and looks forward to defending itself.

In a prepared statement, Chemours said it’s reviewing the lawsuit. Since becoming an independent company in 2015, the statement said, Chemours has “taken definitive action to address active emissions and historic deposition at our Fayetteville site, and continues to do so.”

Chemours noted it’s already entered into a consent decree with state environmental regulators in which it’s agreed to dramatically reduce PFAS air emissions, prevent the chemical’s discharge into the Cape Fear River and provide clean drinking water to private well-users nearby. A Bladen County judge accepted Monday an addendum to that order designed to reduce further contamination of the river.

Stein’s lawsuit goes further, demanding a judge declare the companies acted negligently and fraudulently. Stein, a Democrat seeking reelection next month, also wants DuPont and Chemours to give up profits attributed to unfair and deceptive trade practices.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

CounterClock’s second season investigates 1990 murder of Stacey Stanton in Manteo

Duck to seek NC 12 improvements

Lifestyles

River Town Christmas events planned in Columbia

Crime

Fugitive wanted in Richmond apprehended in Currituck County

Lifestyles

Santa Claus is coming to Manteo

News

Investigators look into two bodies found on Fort Bragg

Crime

Pursuit leads to two arrests in Currituck County

News

North Carolina store owner cited for discouraging masks

Crime

Police: 18-year-olds charged with assaulting couple at North Carolina mall

News

Lon Adams, Slim Jim jerky recipe creator, dies of COVID-19 complications

News

Lowack elected KDH Zoning Board of Adjustment chair; board hears from two exemption applicants

News

Virtual meeting on Rodanthe Bridge set for Thursday

Currituck

4-H project book training set

News

North Carolina to get 85,000 initial Pfizer COVID vaccine doses

News

Thirty-seven additional positive COVID-19 test results reported in Dare

Crime

FBI searches for ‘Too Tall Bandit’ suspected in 16 bank robberies

News

US appeals court rules judge wrongly halted NC voter ID

Hyde

Food box distribution Thursday for Hyde County

Lifestyles

WinterLights: Holiday displays bring a decade of cheer

Lifestyles

Free health screenings for those in fishing industry

News

State and local COVID-19 case count update; additional COVID-related death reported in Dare

News

2017 ban on local LGBT ordinances ends in North Carolina

News

Additional COVID-19 death reported in Bertie County

Crime

Deputies: Woman shot man, robbed store in North Carolina crime spree

News

Criminal record, sentence changes among new North Carolina laws

Currituck

Currituck 4-H program helps with weekend meals for students in need