A new federal lawsuit alleges that a West Virginia company concealed the cancer-causing nature of a chemical leak. Reportedly, the company was responsible for a chemical leak into Elk River. As a result, thousands of nearby residents had to go without water for over seven days. This incident prompted claims that the West Virginia company hid the fact that the chemical leak was carcinogenic – meaning the chemicals involved in the leak have been linked to causing cancer.
The defendant named in the lawsuit is Eastman Chemical Company. They manufacture a substance that is commonly known as "Crude MCHM." Although numerous studies have supported the theory that Crude MCHM is a carcinogen, the lawsuit alleges that Eastman ignored these studies and continued to produce it anyway. A spokesperson from Eastman said that simply isn't true, and even cited in-house studies that contradict these claims.
The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit are individuals and businesses in the area thought to have been adversely affected by the Elk River chemical spill. Other defendants named in the suit include West Virginia American Water, Freedom Industries and Gary Southern.
Overall, there have been 20 lawsuits filed over the incident in Kanawha Circuit Court in West Virginia. Only one of the lawsuits over this incident names Eastman Chemical Company as a defendant, and that is the federal lawsuit.
About Crude MCHM
Crude MCHM is a chemical primarily used to produce coal. Numerous studies have linked this chemical to the development of cancer in humans. The lawsuit alleges that Eastman ignored blatant scientific research and findings indicating that Crude MCHM is a carcinogen. The plaintiffs exposed to the Crude MCHM are asking for medical monitoring so that their post-exposure health can be tracked.
Eastman Chemical Co. explained that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approved Crude MCHM for production and use, therefore the lawsuit has no merit. Even if this was the case, the lawsuit alleges, Eastman should have recognized that there would be health risks with a chemical company being so close to residents and businesses.