Lawyer targets Chemours top officials over chemical pollution


Lawyer Bénédicte Ficq is planning to take legal action on behalf of 2,000 people against current and former management at Teflon factory Chemours.

If the public prosecution department agrees to press criminal charges against management for deliberately polluting the surrounding area and risking public health, then they could face prison terms, Ficq told the NRC.

Investigative website Follow the Money reported earlier that Ficq had opted to go after individual managers so that they can no longer hide behind the company.

“Companies are not impressed by compensation claims or fines,” she said. “They simply include it in the price of a product…I want to show CEOs that it is not normal to make your surroundings sick.”

The former Dupont plant – now Chemours – has been under fire for decades about its impact on the local environment.

In 2018, the public health institute said some people living close to the factory have too much of a toxic chemical in their blood and in 2017 they were warned not to eat fruit and veg grown in their own gardens.

This April the Dutch public safety board OVV said national and local government should be doing a better job of protecting citizens against harmful emissions from industry.

The OVV began its investigation following complaints by residents about Tata Steel in IJmuiden, the Chemours chemicals plant and Nijmegen factory Asfalt Productie.

Locals have been complaining for years about the impact of emissions from the plants but have largely been ignored by national and local government, the OVV said.

Ficq is also involved in a case against management at Tata Steel, where police have been investigating for the past 18 months. 

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