Middlesex County, NJ, towns sue over contaminated drinking water
Six Central Jersey towns are banding together to investigate and bring legal action over contaminated drinking water.
Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac noted the contamination effects over 300,000 residents.
The mayors of Carteret, Clark, Edison, Metuchen, South Plainfield and Woodbridge have retained a law firm to investigate Middlesex Water after reports the water being delivered to residents had elevated levels of cancer causing chemicals.
Earlier this month, Middlesex Water confirmed levels of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) exceeds "acceptable state-mandated standards." PFOA's have been linked to multiple illnesses in both children and adults, including birth defects and cancer.
In a statement, the water company urged caution drinking the water, especially for those who are pregnant or have a compromised immune system.
The Central Jersey Mayors are seeking better disclosure of contamination levels as well as what the water company intends to do to mitigate the problem.
Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey said in a statement that he believes "litigation is absolutely necessary to get the truthful answers my residents deserve."
Carteret Mayor Daniel Reiman also demanded answers, but also compensation for residents now being forced to buy bottled water and/or install water filters.
The lawsuit being formulated, but not yet filed, seeks class action status and names both Middlesex Water Company and 3M Corporation.
3M recently settled a class action suit brought by the New York town of Hoosick Falls for $62.25 million amid claims the company contaminated the town's drinking water with PFOA. When the settlement was announced, many legal and environmental experts predicted many more lawsuits would follow.
Chemical maker DuPont settled a 2017 lawsuit over PFOA contamination for $671 million.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency website, exposure to PFOA "may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses during pregnancy or to breast-fed infants (e.g., low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations), cancer (e.g., testicular, kidney), liver effects (e.g., tissue damage), immune effects (e.g., antibody production and immunity), thyroid effects and other effects (e.g., cholesterol changes)."
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