Weitz & Luxenberg filed a federal class-action lawsuit today against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. on behalf of Hoosick Falls, NY residents who have been drinking water laced with a dangerous chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Some local residents have reported falling ill after using this water for drinking and cooking.
The lawsuit alleges that Saint Gobain and Honeywell are responsible for contaminating the aquifer beneath Hoosick Falls with PFOA. In addition, the suit accuses the two companies of being responsible for the presence of PFOA in the municipal water supply, private wells and local aquifer, creating a public health crisis for residents and hurting property values.
”Enough is enough,” said Erin Brockovich, a consumer advocate who works with Weitz & Luxenberg. ”The negligent acts of these companies have resulted in a public health crisis. The last thing people should be worrying about is whether the water they give to their children is dangerous. But it turns out the water they poured from their tap was contaminated with PFOA, yet there was no way for them to know it. While they can’t change the past, the community has banded together to seek the justice they deserve.”
Robin Greenwald, head of Weitz & Luxenberg’s Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit, said the suit was filed in federal court for the Northern District of New York because Saint-Gobain conducts substantial business in the region. The majority of plaintiffs reside there.
”Residents of Hoosick Falls have been drinking PFOA-laced water for far too long,” Greenwald said. ”This lawsuit is the first step toward ensuring that those responsible are held accountable for the numerous ways they have injured the community and compensate residents for past, present and future harm.”
The complaint notes that PFOA contamination caused many of the plaintiffs to stop using water to drink, cook or bathe. The plaintiffs are seeking compensation for property contamination, loss of enjoyment of properties, remediation, and the implementation of a medical, property, and water source-monitoring program.
Brockovich and Weitz & Luxenberg have been investigating the causes and consequences of the PFOA water contamination in Hoosick Falls since early January. PFOA is a synthetic substance used in the manufacturing of no-stick cookware, dental floss, electrical insulation, fabrics and other products. They will expand their inquiry to include Petersburgh, NY and other areas in the wake of new tests that revealed the water supply there to be contaminated with PFOA as well.
Chronic PFOA exposure has been linked to testicular cancer, kidney cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol, ulcerative colitis and pregnancy-induced hypertension. Studies suggest other possible health consequences, such as a connection to pancreatic cancer.