Kiger became the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit file against DuPont in 2001 after he received a notice from his water company advising him that PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, was in the water supply. A scientist at the EPA in Philadelphia said, “What the hell is that doing in your water supply?
After DuPont agreed to settle a class-action suit and pay $70 million, Dietzler got the idea to use the money to test everyone in the region. More than 69,000 people were tested as part of “Harry’s Project,” and probable links were discovered between C8 exposure and testicular and kidney cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, and high cholesterol – links that have become the basis of 3,500 pending lawsuits.
Mayor Jimmy Colombo
Parkersburg Mayor Jimmy Colombo says the stories about C8 have been overhyped. He points to DuPont’s sponsoring of local high schools and lending technical expertise to help the city resolve problems that required a mechanic or engineer. He has not heard a single complaint about DuPont either in his personal life or as mayor.
Earl Botkin was once an avid outdoorsman who fished and gardened, maintaining 41 rose bushes in front of his house. Today, he deals with debilitating ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol and thyroid disease, three ailments that Harry’s Project determined had probable links to C8 exposure. “We had a lot of plans,” he said. “DuPont really ruined us.”
Dr. Paul Brooks
Brooks, at Harry Dietzler’s urging, headed the science panel that found probable links between C8 exposure and illnesses. Perhaps the panel’s greatest contribution is preventing DuPont from escaping liability in future C8 cases. DuPont’s corporate counsel agreed not to fight any personal injury or wrongful death suit brought against the company by plaintiffs suffering diseases the panel found had a “probable link” to C8. “Causation ends all debate,” Brooks said.