July 7, 2005
The News Journal (Delaware)
DuPont disputes EPA's C-8 review
By JEFF MONTGOMERY
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
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
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
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 more you test the more toxic they appear to be,"
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 email@example.com