On June 22, 2017, The Hannon Law Firm, LLC and our co-counsel Gottesman and Hollis, P.A. filed a master consolidated complaint in the class action against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation. The suit, initially filed on June 10, 2016, seeks compensation for damages arising out of releases, discharges, spills and leaks of toxic perflourinated chemicals, past and present, from the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corporation site in Merrimack, New Hampshire. The damages alleged include:
- Loss in value and differed marketability of properties
- Cost of remediating properties
- Cost of mitigating the contaminated water and of alternative water sources
- Loss of use and enjoyment of properties
- Annoyance and discomfort and inconvenience
- Cost of medical monitoring for the early detection of illness, disease, and disease process caused by exposure
What was PFOA used for at the Saint-Gobain Site?
The Saint-Gobain site consists of about 21 acres located at 701 Daniel Webster Highway, Merrimack, New Hampshire. It consists of an office, a manufacturing facility and related buildings. Previously, the Saint-Gobain Site was operated by ChemFab Corporation, which Saint-Gobain acquired in 2000 (and for which Saint-Gobain has legal liability.)
Saint-Gobain and its predecessors used manufacturing processes at the site using PFOA, including a process that coated woven fiberglass and other fabric with material using PFOA. The PFOA coating was fused to the fabric in, at times, 16 coating towers utilizing high temperature opens, among other mechanisms. The suit claims the Merrimack Plant operated without sufficient management and pollution controls to limit and eliminate releases of toxic PFOA into the air, dust, soil, groundwater and residential properties. As a result, Defendants allegedly released toxic PFAS from the site into the air, dust, soil, and household water of the properties of Plaintiffs and class members.
Did Saint-Gobain use PFOA at any other sites?
Yes, Saint-Gobain operated a plant in Hoosick Falls, New York and a plant in North Bennington, Vermont.
The Hoosick Falls plant used manufacturing processes that were similar to those used in the Merrimack Plant, and it released PFOA there. On December 30, 2014, Defendant Saint-Gobain notified the U.S. E.P.A. of the presence of PFOA in test results of the public drinking water supplies of the Village of Hoosick Falls, NY, and that the Saint-Gobain facility within the Village used PFOA. The notice further stated that on December 12, 2014, Saint-Gobain became aware of PFOA contamination in three wells used to supply drinking water to the community located near their Hoosick Falls facility, and that one of the wells exceed the then-existing EPA provisional health advisory.
Groundwater sampling at or near the Hoosick Falls plant found levels as high as 18,000 parts per trillion (“ppt”) of PFOA. By reference, the U.S. E.P.A. currently has set a provisional PFOA health advisory of 70 parts per trillion, and certain states have lower health advisory levels.
The Vermont plant used manufacturing processes that were similar to the Merrimack Plant, except that is used catalytic converters among other methods to control airborne emissions of PFOA. In 2001, Saint-Gobain chose to close its Vermont facility, terminate dozens of employees and consolidate its manufacturing at the Merrimack Plant because New Hampshire did not have the same environmental regulations and restrictions that were in place in Vermont. At the time of the closure of the plant in Vermont, or shortly thereafter, Saint-Gobain substantially expanded operations at the Merrimack Plant.
PFOA has and had been detected in the wells of residential properties in the area of the former Saint-Gobain plant in North Bennington, Vermont.
What are the toxic properties of Perfluorinated Chemicals (PFAS)?
Exposure to PFAS through consuming water contaminated with PFAS causes PFAS to be absorbed into the human body, resulting in an increased risk of illness, disease or disease process associated with the toxicity of PFAS for those so exposed. PFAS are bioaccumulative and persistent in the body for many years.
Toxicology studies show that PFAS are readily absorbed after oral exposure and ingestion and accumulate in the human body. There are many health risks associated with exposure to PFAS, including an increased risk in humans of:
- Testicular cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Liver function abnormalities
- Endocrine disruption
- Thyroid disease
- High cholesterol
- Ulcerative colitis
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension
- As well as other conditions
The U.S. E.P.A. has also advised that exposure to PFAS may result in developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breast-fed infants.
Learn More About PFAS
About The Hannon Law Firm, LLC
The Hannon Law Firm, LLC has significant expertise in prosecuting class actions for recovering damages for harm caused to large numbers of persons. We have successfully certified, and taken to trial or settled class actions in many states. We are licensed in Colorado, District of Columbia, Missouri, Wisconsin, and Wyoming and work with lawyers throughout the United States.
If your home is near the Saint-Gobain site, we are here to help. You can call our office at 303-861-8800 or contact us through the form below.