PFOA 2006
Group seeks details on C8.
By John Fuquay. March 10, 2006.
The Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina)


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March 10, 2006

The Fayetteville Observer (North Carolina)

Group seeks details on C8

By John Fuquay
Staff writer

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 5 ppb.

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 this year.”

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 districts.

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 or (919) 828-7641.

Copyright 2006 - The Fayetteville (NC) Observer

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