PFOA 2005
July 9, 2005. Health tests to start in DuPont deal.
The News Journal (Delaware).

Return to
PFOA Class Action Suit
Newspaper articles and Documents related to PFOA Class Action

See brief introduction to PFOA and PFOS


July 9 2005

The News Journal (Delaware)

Health tests to start in DuPont deal
Experts raise concerns over potential risks posed by chemical used to make Teflon

Staff and wire reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Tens of thousands of Ohio and West Virginia residents could be tested over the next year to determine if their health has been affected by drinking water containing a chemical used in making the nonstick substance Teflon.

DuPont Co. agreed in February to pay for the health screenings to settle a class-action lawsuit. Teflon is one of the company's most popular products; the substance can be found in everything from cookware and clothing to car parts and flooring.

The tests will begin this month for residents who receive their drinking water from six public water districts, or from private wells within the districts, where concentrations of ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known as PFOA and C8, have been found.

Paying for participation

The water supplies are near DuPont's Washington Works plant, along the Ohio River near Parkersburg. About 80,000 residents live in the districts, and it's hoped at least 60,000 will participate in the screening.

"The more participants we have, the more valid the data is going to be," said Dr. Paul Brooks, who will oversee the collection process with retired hospital administrator Art Maher.

Residents will receive $150 to answer a health questionnaire. If they agree to submit a blood sample, they will receive an additional $250. Residents will walk out of the collection centers with a check, Maher said.

Only residents who received the water for at least a year before December 3, 2004, are eligible.

Testing pollution emissions

In a separate development on Friday, the Environmental Protection Agency published details of an enforceable agreement with DuPont and three other manufacturers that will require tests on pollution emissions during incineration of compounds called fluoropolymers, or FPs.

Federal officials are concerned that FPs could potentially release or break down into PFOA when burned at high temperatures.

"This is the first set, but we expect more to come," said Enesta Jones, an EPA spokeswoman. "This is part of our ongoing effort to understand PFOA and what potential health risks may be involved."

DuPont, AGC Chemicals Americas Inc., Daikin America Inc., and Dyneon LLC agreed to the testing, expected to cost $100,000 to $150,000, according to a federal register notice.

The same notice said that regulators want to determine if incinerators are a significant source of pollution from PFOA, since resistance to extreme heat and flame retardance is one of the qualities that makes the chemicals attractive.

DuPont last year reported drastically reducing emissions of compounds that can break down into PFOA from its Chambers Works plant in Deepwater, N.J., near the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge, as well as at its West Virginia operations. Overall air and water emissions have dropped by 85 percent in New Jersey and 96 percent in West Virginia, according to the company.

Studying the compounds

Compounds associated with FPs and PFOAs include DuPont's Teflon and a variety of nonstick and stain-resistant products. Major users include the automobile, chemical processing, electronics, aerospace, medical, construction and commercial food preparation industries.

DuPont has reported that studies have found its Teflon cookware products to be free of PFOA residues.

The company is one of several now working with the EPA on an expected series of agreements to study the materials.

DuPont agreed to the health screenings in Ohio and West Virginia to settle a 2001 lawsuit filed by residents who alleged the company intentionally withheld and misrepresented information concerning the nature and extent of the human health threat posed by C8 in drinking water. About $70 million has been allocated for resident payments and lab work.

Though it has been used since World War II, C8's long-term effects on humans are unknown.

A federal scientific review panel has said the chemical is "likely" to be carcinogenic to humans, but DuPont officials have disputed the draft report. The panel agreed earlier this week to revise the draft to better reflect opposing viewpoints before submitting it to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by July 20.

Fluoride Action Network | Pesticide Project | 315-379-9200 |