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U.S. class-action case targets nine PFAS makers

Suit seeks creation of science panel to review evidence of health harm

by Cheryl Hogue
October 10, 2018 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 96, Issue 41


Photo shows firefighters coats hanging on a wall and pants on the floor below.
Credit: Shutterstock
The lead plaintiff in the class-action suit is a firefighter whose protective gear contains per- or polyfluoroalkyl substances.

A firefighter is leading a class-action suit against nine manufacturers of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs).

The defendants named in the suit are 3M, Archroma, Arkema, Asahi Glass, Chemours, Daikin, Dyneon, DuPont (now officially DowDuPont), and Solvay.

The proposed class encompasses residents of the U.S. who have a detectable level of PFASs in their blood serum and claim they are injured from this exposure. The companies did not get plaintiffs’ permission before exposing them to PFASs, the suit says.

Lead plaintiff Kevin D. Hardwick has worked as firefighter for more than 40 years, according to the complaint. Hardwick’s exposure stems in part from his firefighting gear, which is coated or treated with PFASs, as well as his use of firefighting foams containing these substances.

The suit, filed Oct. 4 in federal trial court in Ohio, seeks the creation of a panel of scientific experts that would evaluate evidence and determine any probable link between PFAS exposure and human health problems.

This request is fashioned after one in a 2004 class-action settlement with DuPont regarding exposure to one PFAS, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), that was released from a plant near Parkersburg, W.Va. That science panel found probable links between PFOA and several health problems.

In 2017, DuPont and its spin-off Chemours agreed to pay $670 million to settle 3,550 PFOA-related personal injury suits in Ohio and West Virginia.


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