March 10, 2006
The Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina)
Group seeks details on C8
By John Fuquay
RALEIGH — An environmental group Thursday cited rising
levels of C8 in blood samples from DuPont workers near Fayetteville
and asked the company to release detailed information that could
indicate whether residents around the plant are in danger.
“There’s no reason for them to sit on this information,
unless they have something to hide,” said Rick Abraham,
a Houston-based environmental consultant for the United Steelworkers
Union. “We believe this is information that the community
has a right to know.”
Abraham is part of a coalition of environmental groups known
as the North Carolina C8 Working Group based in Durham.
DuPont issued a statement, saying the company is committed to
safety and plans to share test information with employees, neighboring
residents and state and federal regulators.
“It is critical to note the facts. We follow a very disciplined
monitoring, reporting and communication process related to air
monitoring and employee blood monitoring,” Fayetteville
Works manager Barry Hudson said.
“Make no mistake, we are absolutely committed to the health
and safety of our employees and neighbors as it relates to this
issue. We take this responsibility very seriously,” he said.
The statement also said results from recent air samples at six
sites at the plant were “extremely low, thousands of times
below the industrial standard for safe employee exposure limits.”
The results are being presented to employees and soon will be
given to the state, the statement said.
The Working Group sent letters Thursday to Hudson and DuPont
chairman and chief executive officer Charles Holliday Jr. in Wilmington,
Del., where the company is based.
The letters asked DuPont to publicize annual reports from 2002
through 2005 that show levels of ammonium perfluorooctanoate,
also called C8, in air and blood samples. The
environmental groups cited a news report in which information
provided by DuPont said the average concentration of C8 in 37
employees was 450 parts per billion in 2005.
The amount found in most people is about
C8, which also is known as APFO and PFOA, has not conclusively
been linked to health problems in humans, but a scientific panel
investigating the chemical for the EPA has ruled that exposure
to C8 is a likely cause of cancer. Concentrations of C8 can remain
in human blood for many years, and the substance has caused cancer,
liver damage and birth defects in laboratory animals.
Traces in river
The substance has been found in water taken from monitoring wells
at the Fayetteville Works plant. The highest levels DuPont said
it found were 765 ppb and 147 ppb, while other findings have been
considerably lower. The Working Group said it found traces of
C8 in the Cape Fear River. DuPont considers 1 ppb the maximum
allowable for safe drinking water.
The Working Group said DuPont provided the EPA a report in 2002,
showing a sample of Fayetteville plant workers average 11 ppb
of C8 in their blood. Another report in 2003 showed an average
217 ppb. Abraham said DuPont has not provided reports for 2004
or 2005. He said the level of 450 ppb cited for 2005 is alarming.
“For that to be the average means there’s got to
be some pretty big numbers that DuPont’s going to have a
hard time explaining,” Abraham said.
DuPont replied, “We have an ongoing voluntary employee
blood monitoring program at the Fayetteville site and share the
monitoring results with our employees. We also report the monitoring
results to EPA every two years under a voluntary program. Once
these reports are submitted to EPA, they are available to the
public. The data for 2004 and 2005 will be reported to EPA later
DuPont began making C8 at it’s Fayetteville Works plant
in Bladen County in 2002. The substance is used to manufacture
Teflon, stain-resistant fabric and grease-resistant coatings,
such as fast-food containers and the liners of microwave popcorn
bags. The plant is the only place in the country where C8 is made.
DuPont also ships C8 to other plants.
An official with the North Carolina Department of Environment
and Natural Resources who has been monitoring C8 at the plant
was unavailable Thursday but has previously said he was following
the plant’s activities and has been satisfied with information
DuPont is providing.
A spokeswoman with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requested
a copy of the Working Group’s letter to determine whether
the allegations indicated potential violations of federal reporting
requirements. The agency did not announce a decision Thursday.
The EPA fined DuPont a record $16.5 million in December for multiple
violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act after finding DuPont
failed to report human health and environmental risks associated
with C8 from 1981 to 2004.
The company also agreed to pay $107 million to settle a lawsuit
last year with more than 60,000 residents near a DuPont plant
in Parkersburg, W.Va., where C8 has contaminated six public water
DuPont has voluntarily cut C8 emissions in recent years and,
along with other companies using the material, must meet an EPA
requirement to eliminate emissions by 2015.
Staff writer John Fuquay can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (919) 828-7641.
Copyright 2006 - The Fayetteville (NC) Observer