PFOA 2005
July 7, 2005. DuPont disputes EPA's C-8 review.
By Jeff Montgomery. The News Journal (Delaware).

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July 7, 2005

The News Journal (Delaware)

DuPont disputes EPA's C-8 review


The DuPont Co. stepped up its safety claims Wednesday for a chemical used to make Teflon and thousands of other products and coatings as a federal science panel reviewed a separate warning of potential cancer links.

Company officials stressed their recent and updated human health studies involving perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, during a teleconference convened by a panel of the Environmental Protection Agency's Science Advisory Board.

A board advisory group last month tentatively reported the synthetic compound, sometimes referred to as C-8 by DuPont, rates listing as a "likely" carcinogen, in a finding based in part on animal studies.

DuPont chief toxicologist Dr. Robert Rickard said Wednesday that "no human health effects are known to be caused by PFOA even in workers who have significantly higher exposure levels than the general population."

"Since humans, not laboratory animals, are the ultimate target for the PFOA risk assessment, this is important new information in the growing body of research on PFOA," Rickard said in a statement.

DuPont earlier this year reported a finding that testing had found Teflon-coated cookware to be free of PFOA residues.

Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, said late Wednesday that DuPont already had offered similar defenses for PFOA. Wiles said the federal science group should forward to the EPA a formal recommendation for listing PFOA as a likely carcinogen.

"I don't think anything that DuPont said today or in its statement changes that conclusion," Wiles said. "The real concern for DuPont is that they're heavily invested in this type of chemical."

DuPont is facing EPA enforcement action and a grand jury investigation targeting delays and other problems in reporting concerns about the health effects of the chemical. The company also agreed earlier this year to pay $107.6 million to settle claims that PFOA contaminated water supplies around the DuPont Washington Works facility near Parkersburg, W.Va. Terms of the agreement could cost the company millions more if the pollution is linked to health problems.

PFOAs are used to make fluoropolymers, used in turn to give nonstick or other special qualities to a wide variety of products, including paints and textiles and coatings on wires and fast-food cartons.

Researchers have raised increasing concerns that PFOA can linger in the environment for thousands of years and build up in living tissues as it is released by factories or the breakdown of products. Tests have found the compound in the bloodstreams of people around the globe.

"The more you test the more toxic they appear to be," Wiles said.

Company studies did detect what DuPont described as a "modest" increase in cholesterol levels for its highest exposed workers.

"Additional research is investigating whether this association is caused by PFOA exposure or is related to some other variable," said Sol Sax, DuPont chief medical officer.

Contact Jeff Montgomery at 678-4277 or

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