The Water Works and Sewer Board of the Town of Centre, Alabama, has filed a lawsuit against carpet and textile companies, manufacturers, and chemical suppliers for contaminating its water supply with various perfluorocarbons (PFCs). These entities are responsible for discharging two specific PFCs, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooactanoic acid (PFOA), upstream of Centre’s intake site on Weiss Lake and the Coosa River. These compounds are used in the manufacture of non-stick, stain-resistant, and water-proofing coatings on fabric, cookware, firefighting foam, and other consumer producers.
These chemicals were discharged from numerous facilities located in Dalton, Georgia, which is known as the “Carpet Capital of the World.” The EPA acknowledged these entities are responsible for the PFC concentrations in the area and, according to Centre, are the source of the contaminants that impacted its water system. Centre also sued 3M and Dupont, which manufactured PFOS and PFOA until they were phased out of production.
In May 2016, the EPA issued a new drinking water lifetime health advisory for PFOS and PFOA of 70 parts per trillion. The agency warned that exposure to elevated levels of these compounds, which accumulate over one’s lifetime, can lead to a number of health problems including testicular cancer, kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and pregnancy-induced hypertensions.
PFCs persist in the environment for years without degrading and, as a result, can accumulate with repeated exposure. Despite this persistency and the documented health hazards, PFCs are not regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act. Between 2013 and 2015, the EPA tested for PFCs under the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule and found them present in 194 water systems nationwide. The EPA found that 64 of those systems contained PFC levels over the EPA’s health advisory.
Water systems have filed lawsuits nationwide against both the manufacturers and the sources of the contamination to recoup expenses associated with testing, purchasing alternative sources of water, and permanent filtration systems.
Representing the Town of Centre are Beasley Allen lawyers Jere Beasley, Rhon Jones, Rick Stratton, Grant Cofer and Ryan Kral, together with Roger H. Bedford of Roger Bedford & Associates in Russellville, Alabama. Lawyers in our firm previously filed suit on behalf of the Water Works and Sewer Board of the City of Gadsden for PFC contamination and is investigating other PFC contamination cases. If you have any questions about this subject, contact Rhon Jones, Rick Stratton, Grant Cofer or Ryan Kral, lawyers in our firm’s Toxic Torts Section, at 800-898-2034 or by email at Rhon.Jones@beasleyallen.com, Rick.Stratton@beasleyallen.com, Grant.Cofer@beasleyallen.com, or Ryan.Kral@beasleyallen.com.
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