Monday, April 25, 2011

You Just Get One Chance to Hold the Contaminators Accountable

By Duane Craig

Pompton Lakes, New Jersey residents find themselves caught in a catch 22 because a district judge has ruled they cannot sue DuPont for vapor intrusion damages. The ruling affects 113 homeowners who had previously signed releases after settling an earlier suit against the company for mercury and lead contamination around their homes.

Now they are dealing with vapor intrusion contamination, not known about at the time of the earlier action, and they contend since there was no knowledge of it at that time there was no way they could have released DuPont from future claims. Each plantiff in the earlier suit that was settled in 2004 received $950 and up $600 per year for medical tests. Reimbursement for those tests was to be available for 75 years.

The new contamination is from trichloroethylene, (TCE), and tetrachloroethylene, (PCE), both solvents used by DuPont at a former munitions factory throughout much of the 1900s. Vapor intrusion is a process where chemical vapors seep through foundation cracks to foul the inside air of the building. The process is getting renewed attention from the EPA. Previously, the state discovered greatly higher incidences of kidney cancer and non-Hodgkins lymphoma in the neighborhood. Those forms of cancer have been linked to TCE and PCE.

Read the story, here.

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