November 29, 2005
Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)
EPA, DuPont finalize settlement in C8
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Federal regulators have reached an agreement
with DuPont to settle allegations the company hid information
about the dangers of a toxic chemical known as C8 used in the
manufacture of Teflon.
Lawyers for DuPont and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
told an administration law judge on Nov. 23 that they had reached
a final agreement, but needed more time to put together the paperwork.
Judge Barbara Gunning then gave the parties
until Jan. 13 to file the formal agreement.
Officials from both the EPA and DuPont
refused to release terms of the deal.
The EPA alleged that DuPont for 20 years covered up important
information about C8's health effects and about the pollution
of water supplies near the company's Washington Works plant south
Under federal law, DuPont could face civil fines of more than
$300 million for not reporting information that showed C8 posed
"substantial risk of injury to health or the environment."
The company has set aside $15 million to cover the costs of the
lawsuit, according to corporate disclosures filed with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission.
DuPont also faces a federal criminal investigation of its actions
concerning C8 pollution, the company has told shareholders. Since
May, DuPont and the EPA repeatedly have said they were close to
a settlement in the civil case, but had one item left to resolve.
They would not identify that item.
DuPont has maintained that C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic
acid or PFOA, has no negative health effects. Still, in February
DuPont settled a class-action lawsuit for $107.6 million brought
by Ohio and West Virginia residents in 2001, alleging the Delaware-based
company intentionally withheld and misrepresented information
concerning the nature and extent of the human health threat posed
The EPA in July 2004 filed a complaint that alleged DuPont had
caused "widespread contamination" of drinking water
supplies near its Parkersburg plant. The EPA also allege DuPont
never told the government the company had water tests that showed
C8 in residential supplies in concentrations greater than the
company's own, internal limit.
The EPA alleged DuPont withheld the results of a test showing
that at least one pregnant worker from the Parkersburg plant had
transferred the chemical from her body to her fetus. That information,
the EPA said, supported animal tests showing that C8 "moves
across the placental barrier."
The EPA said that agency efforts to understand C8's health effects
"might have been more expeditious" if DuPont had submitted
the human test results in 1981.