The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has requested that eight chemical makers voluntarily stop the use of a chemical used in the production of Teflon and other non-stick products. DuPont Company says that it will comply with that request. The EPA has asked the companies to gradually reduce the use of perflourooctanoic acid (PFOA), which is used to manufacturer several products including non-stick cookware, waterproofing products, and some fast food containers. Studies have linked PFOA to cancer in animals. As expected, DuPont maintains that its cookware and other consumer products made using PFOA are safe for consumers. But, an EPA advisory group now says that most of its members agree that the main chemical under review – PFOA – is a likely cancer causing agent. Further study was recommended by the committee.
DuPont is the only U.S. producer of PFOA. China is also a major producer of the substance. The other seven companies buy the substance from DuPont and a couple of non-U.S. chemical companies. By focusing on these eight companies, the EPA would eliminate more that three-quarters of the use of PFOA globally. That would leave China as the largest remaining producer of PFOA. The EPA has asked the eight companies to reduce their use of PFOA by 95% in 2010 and to eliminate it by 2015. I am not sure exactly what the EPA will do now that the advisory group has issued its report. The other companies include 3M/Dyneon Company, Paris-based Arkema Inc., Japan’s AGC Chemicals/Asahi Glass, Switzerland’s Ciba Specialty Chemicals Holding, Inc., Switzerland-based Clariant Corp., Japan’s Daikin Industries Ltd., and Italy’s Solvay Solexic.
You will recall that recently the EPA imposed a $10.25 million fine on DuPont, the largest civil penalty in EPA’s history. This was part of a settlement of charges that the company hid information on PFOA. DuPont’s most serious violation appeared to be that it failed to report that it knew in 1991 that a mother had transferred PFOA residues in her body to her fetus during her pregnancy. As a part of the settlement, DuPont announced it would reduce its emissions of the substance by 98%, and it said recently that it has already reached the 94% mark. DuPont still faces legal issues surrounding PFOA. A U.S. federal grand jury has subpoenaed documents from the company regarding the substance.
A group of scientific advisers to the EPA voted unanimously last month to approve a recommendation that PFOA should be considered a likely human carcinogen. The approval of the EPA’s Science Advisory Board is conditioned on minor clarifications being made to a draft report, but no major changes will be made to the panel’s findings. The revisions called for by the board include clarifying the scope of dissent among members of the advisory board panel that reviewed the EPA’s draft risk assessment of the chemical. Board members also agreed the report should clarify that the panel’s findings shouldn’t be considered the last word on the chemical, but should be updated as additional data become available.
Source: Wall Street Journal and Associated Press
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.