The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Maryland Factory’s Toxic Wastewater

Mar 25, 2024

The maker of Gore-Tex waterproof fabric has a factory in northeast Maryland near Delaware, where the chemicals are made. The W.L. Gore factory in Cherry Hill near Elkton knowingly released extremely toxic molecules in its wastewater for 40 years until 2014, neighbors and former workers claim in a lawsuit filed last year. These chemicals include PFAS, which cause cancer and reproductive and immune system damage. They also hardly break down in nature, so they are called “forever chemicals.” This means they are still there. But a number of people living near the factory relied on well water, where shockingly high levels of PFAS were detected.

There’s every reason to believe Gore knew the plant and its unlined storage ponds were polluting the groundwater. For example, the company bought up nearby property to block a housing development. Management discouraged a newly hired scientist from living right near the plant. But the plant’s hundreds of workers and neighbors were told that everything was all right.