Credit: Jasper Rietman

Chemours’ Pfas verdict is a warning to all polluting companies

By Tim Luimes, | 3 October, 2023

In a historic ruling, the court ruled that Chemours is liable for pollution damage in Dordrecht. This seems to open the way to millions of claims, criminal prosecution and liability for other polluters. ‘If I had a company that emitted substances, I would now be thinking about what this ruling means for me.’

The Rotterdam court ruled October 4 that Chemours is liable for the damage caused by pfoa pollution in Dordrecht. Five years ago, the municipalities of Dordrecht, Sliedrecht, Papendrecht and Molenlanden started the case. Chemours’ predecessor DuPont knew about the dangers of pfoa in 1984, but concealed them, the court ruled. In 1998, (then) DuPont informed the province of South Holland that the substance was “highly toxic”. As a result, it is still unclear whether Chemours has been liable since then. Because of the 1998 notification, the question now looms as to whether the province itself is also liable for the pollution damage.

It is still unclear how much Chemours will have to pay. In the United States, the company settled for $1.2 billion. Competitor 3M settled in Flanders for more than half a billion euros. The ruling opens the door to subsequent lawsuits. That was also the intention, says Dordrecht alderman Tanja de Jonge: “We did not start this for ourselves, this is a foundation to bring other cases.

Read the full story on FTM (in Dutch).

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