Alabama and Tennessee ranked 2nd and 4th, respectively, in drinking water quality, while neighboring states Georgia and Mississippi also ranked well – 6th and 7th.
The air quality rankings shows a much different story in the South. Alabama ranks 42nd nationwide, while Tennessee (35th), Mississippi (26th), and Georgia (40th) all rank in the bottom half for urban air quality.
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“We’ve got a great, beautiful state, but we also have waste, manure, coal ash, and more that’s dumped here from other parts of the country,” said Conlin. “We’re taken advantage of, and we’ve got to stand up to things like that. We’re not a dumping ground for other people just so others can make a couple dollars.”
Corporations continuously polluting the air with chemicals and dumping toxic waste has had a huge impact on the heightened concern with air pollution in Alabama.
Air pollution increases the risk of respiratory infections, heart disease, and many forms of cancer. Generally, children, the elderly, and people in low-income neighborhoods experience disproportionate health effects from air pollution.
“It almost always affects the most vulnerable people who have the fewest resources to protect themselves,” said Conlin. “Not only are they unable to get clean water and clean air, but these individuals often have worse healthcare and aren’t able to see the best doctors once they are affected – there’s an equity there that is shameful.”
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Despite the positive rankings in the drinking water category, Alabama and nearby states continue working to keep their water as clean as possible. Currently, Cory Watson Attorneys are fighting The DuPont Company, who have dumped harmful chemicals into nearby residents’ drinking water, particularly in the North Georgia area that includes the cities of Rome and Dalton.
In 2016, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division discovered elevated levels of PFOA chemicals at a water treatment plant in Dalton, infiltrating multiple rivers downstream from the plant, including the Conasauga River, one of the most biodiverse river systems in North America.
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PFAS (PFOA and PFOS being the most widely common and studied of the PFAS family of chemicals) are man-made chemicals that have been deemed human carcinogens. They build up in the bodies of exposed people and can persist in the environment for up to a million years, giving them the label “forever chemicals.”
The drinking water in the Mid-Ohio valley was contaminated with PFOA starting in the 1960’s while DuPont used it to make Teflon. This was dramatized in the 2019 film Dark Waters and 2018 Netflix documentary, The Devil We Know.
The DuPont C-8 litigation has an expensive history. In 2020, a Columbus, Ohio, jury awarded $50 million to a man and his wife after the man suffered two bouts of testicular cancer that he claimed were caused by water contaminated from the company’s decades of dumping. Conlin was also part of a Co-Lead Counsel that successfully represented 3,500 plaintiffs.
In 2021, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) discovered that PFAS chemicals are even more toxic than initially thought, with the EPA declaring that safe exposure levels are “thousands of times lower” than previously believed. This news made things even more worrying for residents of North Georgia.
Cory Watson’s team of lawyers have fought to get justice and compensation for people harmed by dangerous chemicals like PFAS for decades. If you’ve been harmed by PFAS or another toxic chemical, contact us today to discuss your case with the experienced environmental personal injury lawyers by calling (877) 562-0000.
About Cory Watson Attorneys
Cory Watson Attorneys is a nationally recognized personal injury and environmental tort law firm with offices in Birmingham, Alabama; Memphis, and Nashville, Tennessee. The firm has recovered more than 3 Billion for clients across the country. Cory Watson attorneys are frequently at the forefront of major class actions and multidistrict litigations involving dangerous pharmaceuticals and product liability, and are often appointed to leadership positions in national cases. Firm practice areas include Personal Injury, Product Liability, Class Action, Asbestos, Business & Commercial Litigation, Dangerous Pharmaceuticals, Defective Medical Devices, and Environmental/Toxic Torts.