Chemicals in tap water caused testicular cancer, lawsuit against NJ utility says
WOODBRIDGE — Contaminated tap water is being blamed for causing a 25-year-old man to develop testicular cancer.
In a lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Middlesex County, a former resident of the Fords section says Middlesex Water Co. failed to warn or notify the public about high levels of chemicals in the water.
That was five years ago, at which time Daniel Sullivan had his left testicle removed and underwent months of chemotherapy, according to the complaint filed on Thursday.
The Princeton law firm Lieberman, Blecher & Sinkevich provided a copy of the suit to New Jersey 101.5 on Friday morning.
Sullivan is now 30 and living in Burlington Township but his mother still resides at the Fords property.
According to the lawsuit, she received notice from Middlesex Water in January that the level of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the water provided to her home, expressed in parts per trillion, was nearly twice the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's accepted threshold as of November 2021.
PFOA is classified as a perfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), which the lawsuit said can cause a number of health issues, including testicular cancer.
How long has there been danger in the water?
In 2007, the lawsuit said, the state Department of Environmental Protection identified PFOA in the water in Middlesex County connected to a DuPont chemical manufacturing plant in Parlin. Middlesex Water acknowledged the presence of PFOA in its supply a year later.
But as recently as this past May, as MyCentralJersey.com reported, the utility blamed 3M for contaminating the water at its South Plainfield wellfield with PFAS.
Legal action taken against 3M by Middlesex Water dates as far back as 2018, according to Sullivan's lawsuit, but he alleges that in the time since, the utility "did nothing to warn its customers that their water was contaminated."
Sullivan said in the lawsuit that he was a healthy adult, had never smoked, and had no other health issues prior to his cancer diagnosis.
A representative for Middlesex Water told New Jersey 101.5 that the company had not been served with the lawsuit as of Friday afternoon.
Attorney Stuart Lieberman, Sullivan's designated trial counsel, was also unavailable for comment Friday, according to a call placed to his firm.
Another chemical cancer scare in Woodbridge
In an unrelated development in another section of Woodbridge, New Jersey 101.5 in March reported the story of a potential cancer cluster involving alumni and staff of Colonia High School.
The New Jersey Department of Health later downplayed any connection between conditions at the school and more than 100 diagnoses of brain tumors.
In Daniel Sullivan's case, he is charging Middlesex Water with negligence, gross negligence, private and public nuisance, negligent infliction of emotional distress, assault and battery, and failure to warn, and seeks to be awarded medical monitoring and quality of life damages.