DuPont says study backs PFOA safety

DuPont says study backs PFOA safety

Postby pfpcnews » Wed Oct 18, 2006 4:45 pm

DuPont says study backs PFOA safety

Company says W.Va. workers had no higher death rates from chemical, found in Chesterfield

Richmond Times-Dispatch - October 18, 2006

BY JOHN REID BLACKWELL

DuPont Co. said yesterday that a study of workers at its plant in Parkersburg, W.Va. showed no increased mortality from exposure to the chemical PFOA.

The Wilmington, Del.-based company said the study, conducted by its own scientists, supports its conclusion that there are no human health effects known to be caused by PFOA.

The chemical has been found in the blood of some workers at DuPont's Spruance plant in Chesterfield County.

PFOA, short for perfluorooctanoic acid, is present in the production process for Teflon, a nonstick coating found in cookware and all-weather clothing.

The Environmental Protection Agency says PFOA does not pose a concern to consumers using those products, but the chemical does not break down in the environment and has been found in water around some plants.

A scientific advisory board for the EPA said this year that PFOA should be classified as a likely carcinogen, but DuPont disputes that.

The company said its study showed no increase in death rates among 6,027 people who had worked at the Parkersburg plant between 1948 and 2002 when compared with the general U.S. population, West Virginia residents and employees at seven other plants.

Officials with the United Steelworkers Union, which represents 1,800 DuPont employees, said they were skeptical of the study.

DuPont did not release the entire study yesterday but said it will provide it to the EPA and publish it in a scientific journal.

The EPA is still conducting its own risk assessment for PFOA. A spokeswoman said the agency will review the results.

The study showed no increases in overall death rates from heart disease or cancer. There was a slight, but not statistically significant, increase in kidney cancer mortality, but the company said most of those workers had little exposure to PFOA.

The study also showed a slight increase in diabetes death rates among Parkersburg workers compared with other DuPont employees.

The union has criticized DuPont for its handling of PFOA at its plants, including the one in Chesterfield. The union has found PFOA in the James River and in groundwater near the plant.
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