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Greene County retains law firm in case against PFAS manufacturers

Jul 17, 2020 5:45 am
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media Greene County lawmakers July 15, approved a retainer agreement with the Long Island-based law firm of Napoli Shkolnik in a case filed against the manufacturers of PFAS. Legislators Michael Bulich of Catskill and Thomas Hobard of Coxsackie, both Republicans, cast the loan dissenting votes on the resolution. PFAS form a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many others. PFAS, or per- and polyfluroalkyl substances are contaminants that resist degradation and accumulate in the human body. A lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General’s Office in November identified Cairo as one of several locations affected by PFAS. The chemical was used at the county's firefighting training center in Cairo, and are present in the municipal drinking water there. The Napoli Shkolnik firm, now retained by the county, will make a presentation at the Cairo Town Board meeting August 3. Greene County Attorney Edward Kaplan said the county entered into a contingency agreement so the firm will ultimately receive 25 percent of any awards made to the counties it represents. “Greene County wishes to protect itself and the taxpayers of potential contamination by these chemicals on its property(ies) and remediation of any contamination should not be borne by the taxpayers but by those that are responsible for manufacturing and distributing such chemicals,” according to the resolution. The lawsuit filed by the AG alleges the defendants had prior knowledge of the risks PFOA/S posed to human health. In 1976, defendant 3M found the chemical contaminant in the blood of its employees, and the corporation paid fines to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for failing to disclose the health risks of their products. 3M paid $1.5 million and DuPont paid $10.25 million, according to court papers. In 2016, the state Department of Environmental Conservation designated both PFOA and PFOS hazardous substances. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.