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EPA Fines Dupont for Poisoning Consumers with Teflon Cookware

From: Environment News Service <>

Failure to Reveal Teflon Manufacturing Risk Costs DuPont $16.5 Million

WASHINGTON, DC, December 15, 2005 (ENS) - DuPont has agreed to pay a $10.25
million fine for failing to report to the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) risk information about a chemical used in the manufacture of
fluoropolymers, including some Teflon® products.

Fluoropolymers impart desirable properties, including fire resistance and
oil, stain, grease, and water repellency. They are used to provide non-stick
surfaces on cookware and waterproof, breathable membranes for clothing.
Under the settlement, filed with the agency's Environmental Appeals Board,
Dupont is also committing to $6.25 million for Supplemental Environmental
Projects (SEPs), for a total of $16.5 million.

The fine is the largest civil administrative penalty ever obtained by the
EPA under any federal environmental statute, the agency said, announcing the
settlement Wednesday.

"This is the largest civil administrative penalty EPA has ever obtained
under any environmental statue. Not by a little, by a lot," said Granta
Nakayama, assistant administrator for the Office of Enforcement and
Compliance Assurance. "This settlement sends a strong message that companies
are responsible for promptly informing EPA about risk information associated
with their chemicals."

The settlement, which still must be approved by the Appeals Board, would
resolve violations at DuPont's Washington Works facility in Washington, West
Virginia related to the synthetic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)
under provisions of both the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act.

The settlement resolves the four violations alleged in the EPA's two
complaints filed against DuPont in July and December 2004, and settles four
additional counts involving information about PFOA that EPA obtained after
initiating its action against DuPont.

As part of this settlement, DuPont has agreed to undertake two Supplemental
Environmental Projects (SEPs) valued at $6.25 million.

The first SEP, valued at $5 million and to be completed in three years, is a
project designed to investigate the potential of nine of DuPont's
fluorotelomer products to break down to form PFOA.
This SEP will help industry, scientists, the public and the EPA examine the
potential sources of PFOA in the environment and potential routes of human
exposure to PFOA.

The public will have an opportunity to nominate members to a Peer
Consultation Panel, an independent group of scientists who will address
specific charges identified in the SEP. For the second SEP, DuPont will
spend $1.25 million to implement the Microscale and Green Chemistry Project
at schools in Wood County, West Virginia. This three year long SEP will
foster science laboratory curriculum changes to reduce risks posed by
chemicals in schools.

Using microscale chemistry, which reduces exposure to chemicals, and green
chemistry, an approach that uses safer chemicals, the project will reduce
risks to children's health and enhance science safety in all of the
participating schools.

"We are pleased that as a direct result of this settlement with DuPont,
valuable information will be produced for the scientific community to better
understand the presence of PFOA in the environment and any potential risks
it poses to the public," said Susan Hazen, EPA's principal deputy assistant
administrator for the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic

The EPA began its investigation because PFOA is very persistent in the
environment, was being found at very low levels both in the environment and
in the blood of the general U.S. population, and caused developmental and
other adverse effects in laboratory animals.

DuPont violated the Toxic Substances Control Act through multiple failures
to report information to EPA about substantial risk of injury to human
health or the environment that DuPont obtained about PFOA from as early as
1981 and as recently as 2004 on human health, environmental contamination,
and animal toxicity studies.

Additional information on PFOA is available at: