USW condemns DuPont on Teflon safety
Dec 12, 2006
The United Steelworkers (USW) is condemning DuPont for, in USW's words, "contaminating employees around the country with some of the highest levels of the Teflon chemical, PFOA, yet to be found in human blood, while denying workers information on potential health effects."
USW charges DuPont with refusing to release certain data the company collected on Parkersburg, West Virginia employees to a court-appointed panel of scientists who are investigating potential health effects suffered by thousands of Ohio and West Virginia residents after drinking water was contaminated by PFOA. "DuPont has also failed to release the study and other PFOA data to a USW local union after it made a formal request," charges USW.
DuPont informed its USW-represented Deepwater, New Jersey plant employees on November 14 that levels of PFOA in their blood were as high as 6330 parts per billion (ppb), thousands of times higher than the average level of 5 ppb in the general population.
“We’ve been asking for information on PFOA since 2004, and DuPont is demanding a confidentiality agreement that would prevent us from giving information to government agencies, public interest groups and workers at other plants,” said Jay Palmore of the Ampthill Rayon Workers Union. “So we are more than suspicious.”
DuPont has issued no formal statement thusfar, but has had a long and fractious relationship with USW, particularly since the union merged with the Pace, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy (PACE) union in May 2005. DuPont wrote in June 2005, on the Teflon issue: In 2003, the PACE union announced and began a “Corporate Campaign” against DuPont. They have pursued this campaign on many fronts in hopes of bargaining at the corporate level, rather than locally at the sites they represent. They have used news releases, handbills, rallies, local newspaper ads, advertising on the sides of buses and this action. In their recent document, USW singles out Teflon® Advanced Carpet Care (without mentioning any other companies and their fluorotelomer products). We believe that this is just another example of their announced Corporate Campaign against DuPont disguised as a safety issue."
DuPont further claimed that, high blood levels or no, "DuPont believes that PFOA exposure does not pose any health risk to the general public. To date no human health effects are known to be caused by PFOA even in workers who have significantly higher exposure levels than the general population."
DuPont at that time announced its employee health study on PFOA, and that partial results indicated no association between PFOA exposure and most of the health parameters that were measured. This is the study that USW is contesting.
http://www.themanufacturer.com/us/detai ... ts_id=4907
There are over 8000 perfluorinated compounds manufactured today...
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