C8 Controversy Continues to Swirl Around DuPont’s Teflon

It’s been an eventful week for DuPont with regard to their use of the chemical C8 and the potential environmental and health risks associated with it. On Wednesday, lawyers filed a suit in Wood County, West Virginia, alleging that DuPont sought to block C8 research by a court-ordered independent scientific panel. The suit comes on the heels of the release of an internal DuPont study, which claims to have found no health risks associated with the chemical.

Ammonium perfluorooctaonate, known as PFOA or C8, is used to make the non-stick coating Teflon in DuPont’s West Virginia-based Washington Works plant. The independent three-member panel was established as part of a class-action settlement in February of 2005. In that $100 million settlement, DuPont was forced to cooperate with the independent review panel after it was determined that local water supplies were being contaminated with C8. According to a 70,000-person screening, area residents appear to have 25 times more of the chemical in their blood than the regular population.

In the new <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/teflon">Teflon lawsuit, plaintiffs contend that DuPont has refused to allow the independent study access to relevant data. They are hoping a new court order will force them to comply with their requests and allow the research to continue. Last week, a DuPont attorney sent a letter to the panel that read:

“Please stop all work related to an incidence of disease study of DuPont’s Washington Works employees. Such a study was not contemplated by the Settling Parties and is not a part of the Settlement Agreement. DuPont has not substantially completed Phase I and II of the worker studies at Washington Works. Therefore, DuPont has determined that any additional studies performed on this DuPont worker population are best conducted by DuPont and its contractors.”

The results of DuPont’s internal study claim that “no increased mortality risk in workers exposed” to C8 have been found, although the company did acknowledge that further testing would be required because of possible links between C8 exposure and the incidence of kidney cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. While DuPont calls these correlations statistically insignificant, they have allegedly resisted attempts by the independent panel to evaluate the workers involved in the internal study.

Earlier this year, a panel appointed by the Science Advisory Board of the Environmental Protection Agency declared that C8 should quite likely be classified as a carcinogen. It was the second such report to claim that C8 was a probable cause of cancer in humans. In December of 2005, the EPA slapped DuPont with $10.25 million in fines in response to allegations that the company hid important information about C8’s

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