Connecticut Residents Take on Kimberly-Clark Over Cancer-Causing PFA Pollution

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A Class Action Lawsuit Accuses Kleenex Maker Kimberly-Clark Of Polluting A Town With PFAs Chemicals.

In New Milford, Connecticut, residents are taking legal action against Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the manufacturer of Kleenex, for alleged environmental pollution. The lawsuit, filed in Connecticut federal court, accuses the company's local facility of contaminating the town's air and water with toxic PFAS chemicals. Residents living near the Kleenex production site claim that these "forever chemicals" have seeped into their properties and drinking water, posing health risks.

The class action lawsuit asserts that Kimberly-Clark has used per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in tissue production at its New Milford plant. PFAS, known for their persistence and adverse health effects, are released into the air through smokestacks and may seep into the ground via paper sludge disposed of in a nearby landfill.

Residents allege that PFAS chemicals from the facility's emissions and paper manufacturing byproduct have contaminated the soil and groundwater. They claim that these chemicals attach to air particles or rain before landing on their property, further exacerbating the contamination issue.

PFAS are ‘Forever Chemicals’

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, found in various consumer goods, including tissues, are deemed ‘forever chemicals’ as they pose health risks such as cancer and infertility because they resist breakdown in nature and the human body.

"PFAS are released into the air via smokestacks and may seep into the ground via paper sludge dumped at a nearby landfill," the lawsuit alleges.

The residents accuse Kimberly-Clark of negligence, arguing that the company failed in its duty to protect them from toxic chemicals. They claim Kimberly-Clark neglected to warn them of PFAS usage and failed to prevent dangerous releases, among other allegations.

New Milford residents want accountability

The lawsuit aims to hold Kimberly-Clark accountable for alleged negligence, accusing the company of failing to warn residents about the dangers of PFAS chemicals and neglecting preventive measures.

The proposed lawsuit would encompass all residents in the area, with New Milford having a population of approximately 6,700 people.

Plaintiffs seek $5 million in damages, as well as the installation of water filters and funding for health monitoring. They demand that Kimberly-Clark be ordered to install water filters and establish a fund for monitoring residents' health.

Nationwide responses to PFAS pollution

These demands reflect broader concerns about PFAS pollution, mirroring similar lawsuits nationwide.

In the past year, manufacturers of PFAS chemicals, including 3M, DuPont de Nemours, Chemours, and Corteva, agreed to pay over $11 billion combined to resolve their liability for PFAS contamination in public water systems.

Federal regulatory action has been prompted by concerns about the toxicity of PFAS. Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first-ever enforceable drinking water limits for several PFAS substances.

The EPA is expected to finalize that rule and designate two of the chemicals as hazardous substances under the U.S. Superfund law this year, signaling a significant step towards addressing the issue on a federal level.

The plaintiffs and proposed class are represented by Ian Sloss, Johnathan Seredynski and Krystyna Gancoss of Silver Golub & Teitell.

The Kimberly-Clark PFAs class action lawsuit is DePaul et al v. Kimberly-Clark Corp., Case No. 3:24-cv-00271, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut.

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