According to reports filed by DuPont with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Chinese workers at their new Changshu plant have dramatically increased blood levels of ammonium perfluoroctanoate, also known as PFOA or C-8. The company opened the facility last year. In May of last year, DuPont reported levels among workers were just less than 50 parts per billion (ppb). One year later, those levels had risen dramatically to 2,250 ppb. This increase is surprising considering DuPont’s promise to make major reductions in emissions and worker exposure to C-8.
Though regulators have not yet set a federal workplace exposure standard for C-8, scientific evidence is mounting as to the dangerous effects of the chemical. The reports on the Chinese workers have Americans worried that they too are at risk. DuPont currently operates plants that manufacture, handle, or use C-8 in Deepwater, NJ; Parkersburg, WV; Parlin, NJ; and Fayetteville, NC. Workers at these American facilities have reported C-8 levels as high as 1,600 ppb.
When DuPont built the facility in Changshu, the company installed its new Echelon technology allowing the company to produce “low-PFOA” products and controls to limit the C-8 emissions and worker exposure to the chemical. Yet this “state of the art” equipment has failed to protect the workers from exposure. The company is already working to improve the ventilation at the facility; however, since DuPont’s Chinese workers have an average of 2,250 ppb of PFOA in their blood, it’s clear that DuPont will have to improve a lot more at the Changshu plant than just its ventilation system.
Source: The Charleston Gazette
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