June 28, 2005
Press Release from The Environmental Working Group
Contact: EWG Public Affairs, 202/667-6982
Science Panel to EPA: Teflon Chemical is 'Likely' Human Carcinogen
Create Pressure on Bush EPA to Stop Pollution of Americans' Blood
With Hyper-persistent Chemical, Level Maximum Fine
WASHINGTON, June 28 - A panel comprised mostly of independent
scientists advising the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
has found today that DuPont's Teflon chemical, PFOA, is a "likely
human carcinogen." The findings are part of a recommendation
to EPA that clashes with a go-slow approach Bush EPA officials
have so far taken in the face of evidence suggesting the chemical
giant knew its chemical would pollute Americans' bloodstreams,
was toxic and practically never broke down once released into
EPA is in the critical final stages of the largest-ever investigation
of its kind to determine how the chemical gets into consumers'
blood - and whether or not it is safe. The company could face
the maximum fine from EPA of $314 million for illegally suppressing
birth defect and safety studies. Agency officials, however, have
hinted that they are considering a much lower fine of $13 million.
DuPont is also the subject of a federal criminal probe into its
suppression of the studies.
"Scientists independent of chemical industry money looked
at the toxicity of this chemical, and the verdict is clear: This
Teflon chemical should be considered a likely human carcinogen.
If EPA officials needed a reason to level the maximum fine against
this $24.6 billion company, they have it now," said EWG Senior
Vice President Richard Wiles. "DuPont might be politically
connected with an army of lobbyists, but it should still be held
On July 6, the scientific panel will discuss its recommendations
that the Agency strengthen its health precautions over the Teflon
EWG staff Toxicologist Dr. Tim Kropp and Wiles will brief reporters
on the panel's findings on a conference call today at 2:30 pm
For the call-in number, please call Lauren Sucher at 202/667-6982.
Excerpts from the panel's report follow:
"In considering the collective evidence
the majority of panel members concluded that the experimental
weight of evidence with respect to the carcinogenicity of PFOA
was stronger than proposed in the draft document, and suggested
that PFOA is a 'likely' carcinogen in humans." (p.
"In the evaluation of carcinogenicity,
the Panel supports the inclusion of multiple cancer endpoints"
"Immunotoxicity has been reported,
and derivations of MOEs for such effects are encouraged. Given
the prevalence of PPAR receptors, including PPAR-alpha in brain,
effects on nervous system structure and function warrant attention."
The Environmental Working Group uses the power of information
to protect human health and the environment. Their four years'
worth of research on Teflon chemicals is available at
The EPA advisory panel's report is available at: