Dupont Agrees to Gradually Eliminate C-8

DuPont has agreed to take part in a new E-P-A program aimed at eliminating the use of a potentially toxic chemical. The chemical is known as C-8. And it’s used to make Teflon and other nonstick and stain-resistant products. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight has the story:

Transcript

DuPont has agreed to take part in a new program aimed at eliminating
the use of a potentially toxic chemical. The chemical is known as C-8,
and it’s used to make Teflon and other nonstick and stain-resistant
products. The voluntary program was proposed by the EPA. The Great
Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight has the story:


The EPA wants DuPont and seven other chemical companies to
completely eliminate C-8 in the next nine years.


The effort is drawing praise from environmentalists. Timothy Kropp is a
senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group. He says finding
a substitute for C-8 can decrease pollution and damage to human health…


“This chemical is ubiquitous in people’s blood, and it’s persistent and
everywhere throughout the environment. It is such a wide ranging
chemical with so many concerns that it’s high time that someone took
care of this.”


One EPA official says this is a great opportunity for the industry to get
ahead of the curve and demonstrate leadership in protecting the
environment.


For the GLRC, I’m Fred Kight.

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Dupont to Conduct Studies on C-8

Most Americans have a trace amount of the chemical C-8 in their blood, and no one knows where it comes from. But the DuPont Company is going to conduct studies that could solve the mystery as part of a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight has the story:

Transcript

Most Americans have a trace amount of the chemical C-8 in their blood,
and no one knows where it comes from, but the DuPont Company is
going to conduct studies that could solve the mystery as part of a
settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Great
Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight has the story:


DuPont spokesman Cliff Webb says the company will spend five million
dollars to investigate the potential breakdown in the environment of C-8,
a key ingredient in Teflon and other non-stick materials.


“We’ll hire independent third parties to serve as a panel administrator for
peer review and consultation, and then the panel will address any specific
activities and findings they see as a result of the study, and the public
will have an opportunity to nominate also a panel member.”


Webb says the three year study will focus on nine chemicals or products
that could release C-8, but he won’t divulge what they are, explaining
they’re confidential business information.


An EPA advisory group has concluded that C-8 is a “likely carcinogen,”
but DuPont disputes that.


Under the settlement agreement, DuPont also must pay a record fine of
more than 10-million dollars for failing to disclose C-8 data to regulators.


For the GLRC, I’m Fred Kight.

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Settlement Reached Between Dupont and Epa

The Environmental Protection Agency says DuPont hid information about the dangers of a chemical used to manufacture Teflon. The allegations prompted an investigation by the EPA, and now, the company will pay 16.5 million dollars to settle the complaint. The EPA says it’s the largest administrative penalty it has ever won. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight has the story:

Transcript

The Environmental Protection Agency says DuPont hid information about the dangers of a
chemical used to manufacture Teflon. The allegations prompted an investigation by the EPA, and
now, the company will pay 16-point five million dollars to settle the complaint. The EPA says
it’s the largest administrative penalty it’s ever won. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred
Kight has the story:


Teflon is made using C-8, and the EPA alleged that for more than 20 years, DuPont withheld
information about the chemical’s health effects. The government also said DuPont didn’t tell what
it knew about the pollution of water supplies near one of its plants.


Tim Kropp is with the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C. He says what’s really
needed is for DuPont to quit making a product that’s been labeled a likely human carcinogen.


“DuPont has a pattern of supression and cover-up. They do not want to give public health
officials the information they need to answer these questions, and to solve these problems.”


DuPont says its interpretation of reporting requirements is different than the EPA’s and the
settlement closes the matter without any admission of wrongdoing.


For the GLRC, I’m Fred Kight.

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Dupont’s Shareholders Ask About C-8

The company that makes a chemical needed to manufacture all those household Teflon products says it stands to lose millions of dollars if regulations are placed on the chemical. And a stockholders’ group is pressing for even more financial disclosure about the chemical known as C-8. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight reports:

Transcript

The company that makes a chemical needed to manufacture all those household Teflon
products says it stands to lose millions of dollars if regulations are placed on the
chemical. And a stockholders’ group is pressing for even more financial disclosure about
the chemical known as C-8. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight reports:


DuPont reported total revenue of 28 billion dollars in 2004. A group of shareholders
wanted to know how much of that 28 billion is at stake if C-8 were to be regulated. The
answer – about one billion.


Sanford Lewis is a spokesman for DuPont Shareholders for Fair Value. He says DuPont
should be even more forthcoming about the possible impact of controls on C-8.


“There is enough environmental and scientific evidence mounting, that the company really
ought to come forward and tell us can it get rid of these chemicals in its products and
preserve this amount of value.”


Currently, C-8 is unregulated, but that could change since some tests have shown the
compound can cause cancer in humans. A DuPont spokesman says C-8 has no
replacement and the benefits to consumers outweigh potential environmental costs.


For the GLRC, I’m Fred Kight.

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Dupont to Pay for Health Testing

  • Teflon is best known for making pans similar to this one "non-stick." But in Teflon's production at an Ohio plant, some of the chemical's ingredients have seeped into the groundwater. (Photo by Davide Guglielmo)

The non-stick substance Teflon is made at a DuPont plant near the Ohio-West Virginia border. The groundwater around this area has been contaminated by a chemical used to make Teflon. The chemical is known as C8. Now, 60,000 residents will be tested to find out whether the chemical is harmful to human health. It could end up being the largest public health screening to occur in the United States. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight reports:

Transcript

The non-stick substance Teflon is made at a DuPont plant near the Ohio-West Virginia border. The groundwater around this area has been contaminated by a chemical used to make Teflon. The chemical is known as C8. Now, sixty thousand residents will be tested to find out whether the chemical is harmful to human health. It could end up being the largest public health screening to occur in the United States. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight reports:


The testing is just getting underway on people who have been drinking water contaminated by C8.
It’s being done as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit against the company.


Residents of nearby water districts accuse the company of witholding information about the health threats posed by C8. Project coordinator Art Maher says medical histories, personal information and blood samples will be collected from the test subjects, who will be paid for their participation.


“That information then will be fed into a database that ultimately will be passed on to the next step of the settlement agreement, which would be the science panel who would interpret the data.”


If the experts determine there is a link between C8 and any disease, DuPont will be required to spend as much as 235 million dollars on a medical monitoring program for additional testing.


For the GLRC, this is Fred Kight.

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Teflon Chemical Lawsuit Finalized

The makers of Teflon could have to pay out more than 440-million dollars as the result of a recently settled water contamination lawsuit. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight has the story:

Transcript

The makers of Teflon could have to pay out more than 440 million dollars as the result of a
recently settled water contamination lawsuit. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Fred Kight
has the story:


The DuPont company was sued in a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of 80-thousand residents
whose drinking water contains trace amounts of a chemical known as C8. The chemical is used
to make Teflon… and manufactured at a plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia.


DuPont officials say C8 does not pose any health risk but Joe Kiger isn’t so sure. Kiger was the
lead plaintiff in the case. He says the most important part of the settlement is an independent
medical study that will be done to determine if C8 can make people sick…


“I’m concerned about my health as well as my familiy’s health, my wife’s and the people in the
community because this is a major thing.”


DuPont will have to pay 107 million dollars for the study, new treatment equipment for local
water utilities and legal fees and expenses for the residents who sued. It could have to pay
another 235 million for environmental clean up and health monitoring if C8 is found to be toxic.


For the GLRC, I’m Fred Kight.

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‘Non-Stick’ Chemical Discovered in Great Lakes

New research shows that chemicals used to repel food, stains, and water are sticking just about everywhere else in the environment. They were recently found in the Great Lakes. But as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Sarah Hulett reports, their discovery was not a surprise:

Transcript

New research shows that chemicals used to repel food, stains, and water are
sticking just about everywhere else in the environment. They were recently found
in the Great Lakes. But as the Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Sarah Hulett
reports, their discovery was not a surprise:


The chemicals are called perfluoronated compounds. They’re used in products
like Teflon, Scotchgard, and Gore-Tex. They’ve been detected in animals from
Arctic polar bears to seals and birds in the Baltic.


Matt Simcik is a researcher at the University of Minnesota. His studies turned up
the chemicals in lake trout from all five Great Lakes. Simcik says a likely source
for the contaminants is wastewater treatment plants.


“Because these chemicals are used in everyday use – textiles and carpets and
things. And when you wash your clothes, or wash your carpet, that water gets
into the waste system, and eventually ends up in the lake.”


The effects of the chemicals on humans is the subject of intense debate – but at
high exposures they’ve been linked to problems including birth defects and
cancer .


One of the two known chemicals has been phased out of use. Federal regulators
are looking at the other to determine whether it should be restricted as well.


For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Sarah Hulett.

Internal Report Suggests Risks of Teflon Chemical

An internal report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that a chemical used in the making of Teflon products at DuPont plants might be harmful to girls and women of childbearing age. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Natalie Walston reports the study runs contrary to what the company has been telling people who drink the water and breathe the air near one of its plants:

Transcript

An internal report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows that a chemical used in
the making of Teflon products at DuPont plants might be harmful to girls and women of
childbearing age. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Natalie Walston reports, the study runs
contrary to what the company has been telling people who drink the water and breathe the air
near one of its plants:


The draft of the EPA study wasn’t meant to be released to the public, but was obtained anyway
by a group that monitors federal environmental policy. It was then taken and studied by the
Washington D.C. based Environmental Working Group. That group’s scientists say the findings
are alarming. They say it shows lab rat pups exposed to the chemical C8 commonly died days
after being born. Also, the exposed rats had lower weight body organs, including smaller
“master gland” or pituitary glands, which scientists say can be a precursor to developing cancer.
Jane Houlihan, Vice President of Research at the Environmental Working Group, says the
problems found in rats translate to problems such as birth defects and possibly cancer for people
who breathe in the C8.


“Um, the EPA’s risk-assessment was pretty astounding in that they found that people’s exposures
to C8 are much much closer to the levels that harm animals than what the EPA would normally
like to see. It was a big surprise that the human population is widely contaminated with C8 and
that those exposures, particularly for women and young girls, is in a range that sets off all kinds
of alarm bells relative to the levels that are known to harm lab animals.”


The concern is that C8 builds up in the blood and it doesn’t break down in the body or in the
environment very easily. It’s primarily an airborne chemical that’s closely related to chemicals
once used to make Scotchguard fabric protector. The 3M Company, which makes Scotchguard,
stopped manufacturing C8 three years ago, but DuPont makes it at a plant in North Carolina.
DuPont still uses the chemical at its West Virginia plant to make Teflon-coated products. The
Ohio EPA is concerned that testing done by DuPont shows levels have been at least three times as
high as the company’s standards. But, the EPA has no standards of its own in place. DuPont has
put in pollution control devices to cut down on C8. But the Environmental Working Group’s
Houlihan says it’s highly likely the air and water are still laden with C8 because the chemical is so
persistent.


“C8’s not like any other environmental pollutant. When we banned PCBs and DDT a quarter of a
century ago, we’ve seen levels of those chemicals decline in the environment because they break
down. C8 is really different.”


That’s just what people who live near DuPont’s Washington Works plant near Parkersburg, West
Virginia are afraid of. The village of Little Hocking, which is across the Ohio River from the
plant is a cluster of small houses, a general store and a tiny post office.


(sounds of her answering phone)


That’s where Judy Pashun works as Postmaster.


“When I found out about the Little Hocking Water Company, I quit drinking the water here at
work, so I bring water here to drink.”


Pashun is referring to the Little Hocking Water Authority, which supplies water to some 12,000
people in the southern Ohio area, all of whom are involved in a class action lawsuit against
DuPont. DuPont has said in the past and keeps on saying that levels of C8 are in the water, but
aren’t at levels high enough to cause concern. The water company’s general manager, Bob
Griffin, begs to differ. He says high concentrations of C8 ride over to southern Ohio on the
prevailing wind and settle in the company’s well fields.


“People that live in the community could have twice as much C8 in their blood than somebody
that works at DuPont. I mean, there’s people that work at DuPont that said they’ve got so many
parts per million in their blood. Now when we talk about what’s in the water is parts per billion,
but people that work there actually have parts per million.”


DuPont, on the other hand, disagrees with Griffin and the Environmental Working Group’s
interpretation of the internal EPA study. Its toxicologists argue that C8 has no known adverse
affects to human health. Robert Rikard is a company scientist. Rikard, in an interview conducted
before the EPA’s study was leaked to the media, said the public’s concern about and the media
attention to C8 is unfounded.


“There is a lot known about this compound. We’ve had over 50 years of experience, and we’ve
closely monitored it for many, many years. And, all of the data would indicate there is no known
human health effects and no known environmental effects with this compound.”


And, DuPont says the report findings were prematurely leaked to the media. A company news
release reminds the media that the document was, quote, an internal and deliberative draft and,
therefore, not subject to the Freedom of Information act, which requires that documents be made
public.


Still, this problem has raised a wider question about the use of Teflon and other products, because
it’s not just a problem confined to people living near DuPont plants. The Environmental Working
Group says the EPA needs to move quickly to ban the chemical C8 and similar families of
chemicals because traces of the chemicals have been found on produce such as apples and green
beans in grocery stores throughout the country.


For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Natalie Walston.