Energy & Environment

Plastics company agrees to $23M settlement in drinking water pollution case

A plastics company accused of contaminating residents’ water in a New York town, has agreed to settle a class-action lawsuit for over $23 million, the Times Union reported.

The settlement, which was filed on Friday and is pending court approval, would resolve a lawsuit brought by eight plaintiffs that allege that Petersburgh-based Taconic Plastics polluted residents’ water with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) from a nearby plant.

The Times Union noted that products made by the company were allegedly coated with PFOA chemicals. 

The plaintiffs alleged that the company polluted Petersburgh water supplies when by releasing it from the company’s smoke stacks near a highway. The plaintiffs say that there are notable levels of the chemicals were found in their bloodstream.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has rated PFOA as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” according to the American Cancer Society.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the growth and development of animals has been affected when laboratory animals have been given large doses of PFOA. The agency notes that PFOA also negatively affects animals’ livers.

The settlement, which was accepted by Taconic’s parent company, Tonoga, would establish three separate funds, according to the news site. The first is a 15-year monitoring program for individuals who reported notable levels of the chemical in their bloodstream. The second is a fund for people who found pollution of the chemical in private wells. The last fund would be for people who use public water from the town of Petersburgh. 

“We are very pleased that after five and a half years of litigation, the Parties were able to negotiate a class action settlement to compensate current and former residents of Petersburgh for loss of property value, nuisance, and to establish at 15 year medical monitoring program,” according a statement provided to The Hill by James Bilsborrow, an attorney for the plaintiffs, on behalf of the residents.

“We hope this resolution helps the community continue to recover and we trust that the medical monitoring program will assist those exposed to PFOA to improve their health and detect any PFOA-related health conditions at an early stage.”

Timothy Kosto, the president of Taconic Plastics, said in a statement that the company was “pleased to have settled with the plaintiffs in the Petersburgh class action lawsuit,” according to NEWS10 ABC.

“For more than 60 years, Taconic has been committed to the success of our local community. We look forward to continuing our commitment to the health and safety of our employees and members of the community and to providing sustainable employment opportunities and economic stability to Petersburgh and the surrounding communities,” he continued.

The Hill has reached out to Taconic Plastics for comment..

Tags New York PFOA Pollution

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