Class Action against DuPont's Teflon Plant Sticks

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Princeton, NJA well-known environmental law attorney is leading a class action aimed at forcing DuPont to pay for the cleanup of the local water supply for the residents of Penns Grove, NJ. "We are seeking to have safe drinking water for these people," says attorney Stuart Lieberman of Lieberman & Blecher. "The primary relief being sought is remediation of the drinking water."

The suit alleges the town's water supply is contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) also known as C8. PFOA is a chemical used in the production of Teflon, a non-stick and stain resistant material used to make cookware, at the nearby DuPont Chambers Works Plant.

Although there is no evidence to suggest cooking with Teflon causes cancer, PFOA used to make Teflon has been linked to cancer in a number of studies over the last decade or more, as well as birth defects in animals.

Lieberman represents a potential class of 15,000 Penns Grove, Salem County residents, who live near DuPont's Chambers Works plant.

"There are obvious health risks associated with PFOA -- the government has been studying this for a long time," says Lieberman. "These people didn't sign up to drink this in their water and they didn't volunteer to drink this in their water."

"And our view is that DuPont put PFOA in their water," Lieberman adds.

In the mid 1990's DuPont, along with several other companies, agreed voluntarily to find processes that would prevent PFOA from being released into local water supplies during the manufacturing process.

The class action filed by Lieberman asks that DuPont be required to supply a water filtration system for the towns of Penns Grove and Pennsville in southern NJ where local drinking water has allegedly been contaminated by the DuPont plant. The suit also asks that residents be provided with a medical testing program.

A veteran of more than his share of environmental lawsuits and a former government lawyer for the Department of Environmental Protection in the 1980's, Lieberman sees this as a very strong case against DuPont.

"It is true, I am a former DEP lawyer gone 'good'," says Lieberman in his affable and engaging manner. "I am now representing the right side."

"Somewhere in this world, I don't know how it occurred," says Lieberman. "We started to get used to the idea that it is okay to have extra things in your water as long as they are below certain standards."

"We don't agree with that," Lieberman goes on to say. "You shouldn't be drinking this stuff."

DuPont is currently reviewing the judge's decision to allow the class action to proceed.

Stuart Lieberman is a founding member of the Lieberman& Blecher. He is a former Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey who was assigned to the Environmental Protection Section. He is also a co-author of New Jersey Brownfields Practice, a book that describes legal aspects relating to the sale of contaminated properties in New Jersey. A frequent lecturer on environmental subjects and a weekly syndicated columnist, Lieberman has represented many municipalities, businesses and individuals in regulatory and land use matters as well as litigation in these areas.

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