Group sues Sears, GE over water filters

By Chris Rizo | May 10, 2008

OAKLAND, Calif. (Legal Newsline)- The Center for Environmental Health claims in a lawsuit that General Electric Co., Sears Roebuck and Co., Whirlpool Corp. are poisoning the public by selling water filtration systems that discharge arsenic into the water.

Arsenic, they say, is known by the state of California to cause cancer and other reproductive harm, so under voter-approved Proposition 65, state law that requires public notice of the presence of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects.

The group is seeking civil penalties against each of the defendants of $2,500 for each day of Proposition 65 violation, according to a lawsuit filed in Alameda County Court.

The Oakland, Calif.-based Center for Environmental Health claims that the companies knew that their activated carbon filters discharged arsenic since the problem was discussed at an Aug. 8, 2000 meeting of the Water Quality Association.

Also named as defendants are: Cuno Inc., Ecowater Systems LLC, Everpure LLC and KX Industries LP.

The group says the companies were aware of the association's finding since most of defendants belong, according to the lawsuit filed Thursday.

"A report was presented of a multi-year study conducted by Defendant KX Industries. The KX Industries study concluded that, 'arsenic and antimony contamination occurs broadly in activated carbons,' and that '[t]his contamination leads to extractable levels of arsenic and antimony that can often exceed the current arsenic and antimony standards and pervasively exceed the proposed future arsenic standard,'" the lawsuit says.

The Center for Environmental Health is represented by Howard Hirsch of the Lexington Law Group of San Francisco.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at

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