BY: Jason J. Thompson | IN: Class Action & Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury
Recent alarming news about sludge containing chemicals from the Wolverine World Wide Rockford, Michigan tannery being dumped at numerous sites has raised awareness of dangers associated with groundwater contamination plumes. Plumes develop over years when contaminants leach into underground aquifers that may be the source of well water.
In the case of the Wolverine tannery, it’s still unknown how far the contamination has actually spread. Initially, officials established a “buffer zone” of 200 Plainfield Township homes around the dump site at 1855 House Street NE. Wells in this zone are being tested for the chemical components of Scotchgard, which was used at the Wolverine tannery in the 1960s and 1970s and applied to the leather used in the Hush Puppy shoes manufactured there.
Specifically, officials are testing for perfluoroalkyl, polyfluoroalkyl, and perfluorinated chemicals (known as PFAS or PFCs). In some studies, exposure to PFAS or PFCs has been linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, pregnancy-induced hypertension, thyroid problems and cholesterol issues. It’s believed Wolverine improperly disposed of these dangerous chemicals at several sites around the tannery, and some fear there are more dump sites that have yet to be identified.
Well water testing has already revealed that some wells have what some scientists would regard as significant contamination levels. Results from 15 properties in early October found PFAS and PFC levels that exceeded the 70 parts-per-trillion that the EPA has advised is safe. The number of dump sites keeps growing as more are discovered. The last count was over 70 sites.
Members of Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Group are studying the developments and responding to scores of inquiries from concerned citizens whose property values or health may be affected by the contamination. you have concerns, please contact us today to discuss your situation.
Photo Credit: mlive.com
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Jason Thompson is a nationally board certified trial attorney and co-chairs Sommers Schwartz’s Complex Litigation Department. He has a formidable breadth of litigation experience, including class action and multidistrict litigation (MDL), and practices nationwide in both state and federal courts.