Dupont
DuPont

E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) is one of the nation’s largest chemical companies, headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware.  The US chemical industry’s biggest merger closed on August 31, 2017, between DuPont and Dow Chemical Company in an all-stock transaction, making the combined company, DowDuPont, have an estimated value of $130 Billion.  It was held equally by both companies’ shareholders and maintained its two headquarters.  Following the merger, DowDuPont would pursue a separation into three independent, publicly traded companies:  Corteva Agriscience (agricultural business);  Dow, Inc. (the materials science company); and DuPont (a specialty products company.)

Historically, DuPont has had a significant manufacturing presence in Western New York, with facilities in Niagara Falls and at the Yerkes Plant located in Tonawanda, New York.  The Niagara Falls Plant is located on Buffalo Avenue, and was most recently operated by The Chemours Company, which was founded in July 2015 as a spin-off from DuPont.  After review of its Reactive Metal Solutions business, it was decided to stop production at the Niagara Falls site by the end of 2016. 

The DuPont Yerkes plant is located on River Road in the Town of Tonawanda, and converts chemicals into solid sheets to create the non-porous Corian solid surface, which is used in a variety of applications, including healthcare environments, nurses’ stations, corridor wall cladding, and some operating rooms and a special coating for airplanes and solar panels.  Tedlar, a polyvinyl fluoride film that protects surfaces from harsh weather, UV rays, chemicals and solvents, is also made at the plant. In addition to being used for solar panels and aircraft, Tedlar is being made for building supplies currently being used to make short-term hospitals and structures globally and domestically.

As a result of occupational exposure to asbestos, former employees and contracted workers at DuPont Niagara Falls and DuPont Yerkes plants have developed and died of mesothelioma, lung cancer and have suffered from a host of asbestos-related diseases, including asbestosis. DuPont’s Western New York plants were involved in the manufacture of chemicals such as polyvinyl acetate (PVA), chlorine or chemical base products such as cellophane. The production of these materials involved the use of high temperature equipment to process the materials and chemicals. For decades, asbestos was used as an insulating material that was applied to a wide variety of surfaces including pipes, furnaces, duct work, drying towers and turbines.

For many years, both outside contractors and the direct employees of DuPont handled asbestos in many forms. Asbestos cement, blocks, pipe covering and insulating blankets were used extensively. Asbestos gaskets and rope packing were used throughout the plants in the installation, repair and maintenance of pumps, valves, pipe flanges, compressors and ducts. DuPont workers were constantly exposed to asbestos dust throughout the entire plant. DuPont is no stranger to environmental violations.  In 2018 alone, DuPont was fined over $3 million for environmental violations, and in 2019 DuPont led the “Toxic 100 Water Polluters Index.” A lawsuit was filed against DuPont in 1999 for personal injury claims as a result of the toxic chemical leak of perflurooctanoic acid (PFOA or C-8) from its plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia; ultimately in February 2017, DuPont and Chemours Co. agreed to pay $671 million to settle the 3,535 cases of toxic poisoning.  On January 22, 2021, DuPont, Chemours and Corteva announced a cost-sharing agreement worth $4 billion to settle lawsuits involving the historic use of the highly toxic “forever chemicals” known as PFAS used to make Teflon.  A feature film, Dark Waters, documents the real-life story of the 20-year battle with DuPont.

The attorneys at Lipsitz, Ponterio & Comerford, LLC have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products used at DuPont’s plants.  Our clients understand the importance of securing legal representation as soon as possible after a diagnosis of mesothelioma or lung cancer. If you or a loved one were once employed at DuPont and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma or lung cancer, we urge you to contact us regarding your legal rights.

Sources:

Wikipedia

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YouTube Nightline Episode: Dark Waters’ star Mark Ruffalo, lawyer Rob Bilott tell the true story behind film | Nightline


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