PFOA Teflon Chemical Has Poisoned Nearly the Entire World
The chemical PFOA, formerly used in the manufacturing of DuPont’s Teflon, has been found to have contaminated groundwater in many U.S. locations and throughout the world.
DuPont began phasing out the use of PFOA (also known as C8) in 2005, after it was revealed that the company had for decades covered up the numerous health risks associated with the chemical. This revelation led to a record $16.5 million fine being levied by the EPA, and a $300 million class-action lawsuit filed by residents living near a West Virginia DuPont factory, after being poisoned by the PFOA that contaminated the local water supply.
PFOA is part of a family of substances known as PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals).
A ‘miracle of modern chemistry’ turns out to be a health and environmental nightmare
From a recent report published by the Environmental Working Group (EWG):
“C8 was a key ingredient in making Teflon, the non-stick, waterproof, stain-resistant ‘miracle of modern chemistry’ used in thousands of household products.
“Internal documents revealed DuPont had long known that C8, also known as PFOA, caused cancer, had poisoned drinking water in the mid-Ohio River Valley and polluted the blood of people and animals worldwide. But the company never told its workers, local officials and residents, state regulators or the EPA. After the truth came out, research by federal officials and public interest groups, including EWG, found that the blood of almost all Americans was contaminated with PFCs, which passed readily from mothers to unborn babies in the womb. In 2006 the EPA confirmed that PFOA is a likely human carcinogen.”
Aside from causing cancer, PFOA has also been linked to “hormone disruption, heart disease and other serious health problems.”
Ten years later, DuPont has stopped using PFOA in its products, but the company’s promise to clean up water supplies has not been fulfilled.
Sharon Lerner wrote in a recent article posted by The Intercept:
“PFOA has been found in drinking water in Hoosick Falls, New York; Bennington, Vermont; Flint, Michigan; and Warrington, Pennsylvania, among many other places across the United States. Although the chemical was developed and long manufactured in the United States, it’s not just an American problem. PFOA has spread throughout the world.
“As in the U.S., PFOA has leached into the water near factories in Dordrecht, Holland, and Shimizu, Japan, both of which were built and operated for many years by DuPont.”
Lerner reports that extremely high levels of PFOA were found in the blood of workers from both the Dordrecht and Shimizu factories and in the groundwater of areas nearby.
An even greater threat emerging?
While health officials and environmentalists are still busy trying to measure the extent of PFOA contamination and its effects on human health, a new threat may be emerging:
“Production, use and importation of PFOA has ended in the United States, but in its place DuPont and other companies are using similar compounds that may not be much – if at all – safer,” reports EWG.
“Few have been tested for safety, and the names, composition and health effects of most are hidden as trade secrets. With the new PFCs’ potential for harm, continued global production, the chemicals’ persistence in the environment and presence in drinking water in at least 29 states, we’re a long way from the day when PFCs will be no cause for concern.”
Meanwhile, DuPont has continued to play down the dangers of PFCs, and the EPA has been accused of dragging its feet in dealing with the problem:
“Even as DuPont maneuvers to minimize its responsibility for letting a known hazardous compound contaminate the homes, water and bodies of all Americans, the public remains vulnerable to future disasters because of the gaping holes in the nation’s chemical safety net. …
“DuPont must be held to its promises to clean up the mid-Ohio Valley and compensate those who were harmed. The EPA and governments worldwide must act swiftly to thoroughly assess and control the hazards of next-generation PFCs. Most importantly, Congress must learn from the tragedy of C8 and enact an effective chemical safety law that protects public health, not the industry’s profits.”
Anyone familiar with the EPA’s track record – as well as that of Congress and the rest of the federal government – is unlikely to be holding their breath, waiting for that to happen. …