State wins $110 million from chemical company over decades of contamination in Southeast Ohio
Ohio has secured a $110 million settlement with DuPont, Chemours and Corteva to repair environmental damage in Southeast Ohio following seven decades of contamination at DuPont’s Washington Works facility in Parkersburg, WV, just across the Ohio border from Washington County.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said the company’s Teflon plant contaminated water in the region for seven decades.
“We took this action to protect Ohio, its citizens and its natural resources. Now DuPont will be making compensation to Ohio for environmental restoration which is in addition to the hundred of millions of dollars that the company separately paid out for thousands of personal injury lawsuits,” DeWine said.
The chemicals used in production of the Teflon has been linked to serious health issues including cancers, thyroid disease, low birth weight and high cholesterol. The chemicals are also known to be toxic to animals. The chemicals are often referred to as “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down easily in the human body or environment.
How the settlement will be used
Money from this settlement will be used to establish an environmental restoration fund. 80% of the $110 million will be used to address pollution from the plant, 16% will address damages from firefighting foam and 4% will be used to mitigate damages to natural resources.
The settlement means a jury trial will not be necessary. Republican Attorney General Dave Yost said there was no guarantee the state would end up with a better settlement if the case had gone to a jury trial.
“This is not a slam-dunk,” Yost said, noting it was a significant amount for the company. “I think this is the absolute best we could have done without a jury trial where we well could have been disappointed in one or more ways."
The history of DuPont’s use of the dangerous chemicals was dramatized in "Dark Waters", a 2019 movie starring Mark Ruffalo.