Activists have demanded an explanation of how DuPont's restructuring efforts would affect health expenses stemming from a settlement more than a decade ago.
The chemical giant in 2004 agreed to pay $235 million to monitor 80,000 residents near its plant in Washington, West Virginia, which produced a chemical called C8 or PFOA for decades.|
C8, one of many perfluorinated chemicals widely used in industry, is linked to health problems such as kidney cancer and thyroid disease. DuPont previously used the chemical for Teflon non-stick coating, but C8 also helped make products such as rain gear and non-stick carpeting.
The class action lawsuit, filed in 2001, covers exams for potential health problems due to C8 exposure and allows victims to file personal injury claims against DuPont. The company also agreed to pay $1.6 million in 2009 over C8 contamination of the Ohio River.
But DuPont announced plans to spin off its chemicals business -- including Teflon -- into a new entity called Chemours Co. this summer as part of a broader restructuring effort. A group called Keep Your Promises DuPont raised concerns about Chemours' initial debt level and whether the company would be able to continue payments to nearby residents.
"Will the promises DuPont made be spun off to someone else?" Parkersburg, West Virginia resident Harold Bock asked at a rally outside the company's former Wilmington, Delaware headquarters.
Company officials responded that DuPont and Chemours "remain committed to fulfilling all its environmental and legal obligations that have been ongoing at its Washington Works facility."