Read the full article by Doug Fraser (Cape Cod Times)

“The Select Board voted unanimously this week to join with other towns, public utilities, colleges, counties, states and even airports from across the country, in suing the manufacturers of a chemical group known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) for its impact on water supplies.  

‘The (clock) is running, the cases are already open,’ said Town Counsel Pat Costello, responding to requests by two separate groups of attorneys to sign onto two separate lawsuits. Known as Multi-District Litigation, these are essentially class action lawsuits.

The first case is due to be heard in federal court in South Carolina, according to Richard Sandman, an attorney with Rodman, Rodman & Sandman of Malden, the firm that solicited Chatham and other Cape towns to join in the suit as part of the PFAS Litigation Group. Costello told the select board that first trial is coming up in January and is a test case. 

Board members voted unanimously to join in the litigation proposed by the PFAS Litigation Group over an invitation by the New York City-based law firm of Napoli Shkolnik. According to documents supplied by the litigation group, they are also representing seven Massachusetts towns, including Falmouth and Barnstable in this suit. 

In his letter to the town, Sandman cited success in water contamination cases including obtaining a $100 million award for 90 Massachusetts cities and towns for contamination of public drinking water by the gasoline additive MTBE. 

Potential health effects of PFAS chemicals 

PFAS chemicals have been linked to testicular, kidney, and other cancers, liver damage, high cholesterol, reduced vaccine efficacy, and a host of other maladies. The chemical bonds are hard to break, which makes PFAS durable and attractive for use as fire and water resistant materials in clothing, food packaging, cookware, adhesives, furniture fabric finishes, and particularly in firefighting foams whose use at airports and firefighting led to groundwater contamination in areas near military bases and airports.”…