Florida sues DuPont, other companies over firefighting foam | wtsp.com

2022-05-06 06:54:56 By : Ms. Daisy Wang

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The state of Florida is suing multiple firefighting foam manufacturers alleging the companies polluted the environment and caused serious health risks for those in contact with the toxic foam.

The suit, filed by the office of Attorney General Ashley Moody on April 15, alleges that 14 businesses, including DuPont de Nemours Inc., Tyco Fire Products LP, The Chemours Company, and UTC Fire & Security Americas Corporation, Inc., manufactured and sold Aqueous Film Forming Foam (AFFF) that was "discharged into the environment at or from sites throughout Florida." 

AFFF is used to extinguish fires involving fuel or other flammable liquids, the suit claims. The state says it's also used to train firefighters and test firefighting equipment.

The foam contains the chemical compounds perfluorooctanoic acid/perfluorooctane (PFOA). The suit claims PFOA is associated with an increased risk of kidney and testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis and other conditions. According to the Associated Press, firefighting foam contains numerous toxic chemicals known as "forever chemicals" due to the fact that they don't break down easily and can stick around for a while. 

The state argues that the companies did not provide product instructions or warnings about the risks associated with using the foam containing AFFF and PFOA/S.

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Specifically, the suit states that DuPont/Chemours has known of the foam's toxicity and in 1978 even began to review and monitor the health conditions of its workers who were potentially exposed to PFOA. 

"DuPont subsequently found that PFOA is 'toxic' and that 'continued exposure is not tolerable,' but did not disclose this to the public or to the United States Environmental Protection Agency," Florida said in the filing.

On the contrary, DuPont de Nemours believes the "complaint is without merit." 

The full statement from a spokesperson on behalf of the company says, "In 2019, DuPont de Nemours was established as a new multi-industrial specialty products company. DuPont de Nemours has never manufactured or sold PFOA, PFOS or AFFF. We believe this complaint is without merit and is the latest example of DuPont being improperly named in litigation. We look forward to vigorously defending our record of safety, health and environmental stewardship."

DuPont de Nemours was formed by the merger of Dow Chemical and E.I. du Pont De Nemours (EID, which is listed in the lawsuit) in 2017. DuPont de Nemours inherited specialty product-making assets from EID and Dow. EID was a large corporation made up of multiple product lines.

The suit lists numerous locations where Florida has shelled out funds related to PFOA/S testing or remediation. Areas include Florida State Fire College in Ocala, Florida; Hillsborough Community College Fire Academy in Tampa, Florida, Volusia County Fire Training Center, Miami Dade College Fire Academy and others.

"Throughout the state of Florida, [the companies'] conduct has affected, and continues to affect, a considerable number of people and entire communities," according to the lawsuit.

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The suit accused the companies of also creating a public nuisance, threatening public health and drinking water and say the companies failed to create a safer alternative although the means were available. 

While the suit doesn't mention how much Florida is seeking in compensation, it does say the state intends to receive compensatory damages "consisting of costs incurred and to be incurred by the state in investigating, monitoring, remediating, and otherwise responding to injuries and/or threats to public health and the environment caused by [the companies'] products."

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