Paulsboro residents sue over chemical threat

Paulsboro residents sue over chemical threat

Source: Philadelphia Daily News, February 12, 2014
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In 2012, a train derailment spewed a toxic cloud over the small South Jersey town of Paulsboro, prompting safety concerns and major lawsuits over the chemical industry there.

Now more lawsuits are being filed over an invisible, unrelated threat some say is lurking in Paulsboro’s water supply.

“This isn’t just a concern for Paulsboro, it’s for everybody in the area,” attorney David Cedar said yesterday.

Cedar and his firm are representing three Paulsboro families against Solvay Polymers, a plastics and chemicals manufacturer in nearby West Deptford, claiming the company contaminated drinking water with dangerous chemicals. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Paulsboro Water Co. tested drinking-water wells in Paulsboro and, according to the lawsuit, found elevated levels of a variety of perfluorochemical compounds (PFCs).

When similar chemicals were found in drinking water in West Virginia in a case against DuPont, Cedar said, local residents had higher levels of testicular and kidney cancers, thyroid disease and other ailments.

“This is some serious stuff,” he said.

The lawsuit is the second filed against Solvay since the Delaware Riverkeeper Network first brought the issue to the borough’s attention last year.

Representatives for Solvay Polymers could not be reached for comment.

The Cedar law firm and the firm of Williams, Cuker and Berezofsky represent more than 2,000 Paulsboro residents in the case involving the November 2012 train derailment that resulted in a 25,000-gallon vinyl chloride spill.

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