What is PFOA by xarrnet

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									Everywhere DuPont turns, someone is criticizing it about Teflon, Zonyl and C8, whether it be
government agencies, the court system, environmental groups, news media, investors, or even its own
workers. The root of this criticism is simple – DuPont has displayed a total lack of accountability in its
handling of C8.

Most recently, a former DuPont engineer and the Environmental Working Group disclosed internal
documents about Zonyl for food packaging1. The whistleblower alleged that DuPont knew for 18 years
that Zonyl migrated into food three times the FDA-agreed limit.2

We believe that, unfortunately, DuPont’s action plan to save its $1 billion business line3 is based more on
denial and misleading statements than on quickly developing and implementing safer alternatives to C8.
As usual, it will be the employees and the public that will suffer the fallout from Wilmington’s poor
decisions. For the sake of our health and jobs, and the safety of consumer products, DuPont needs to
change its policy on this chemical. Otherwise, DuPont may lose business to companies like OMNOVA
and 3M that are using the C8 controversy to market their alternative surfactants.4

What is C8?

Perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts are collectively called C8 or PFOA.5 DuPont is the only U.S.
industrial producer of the form of C8 (also called APFO) used as a processing aid for various
fluoropolymers such as Teflon® coated cookware and industrial products such as wire coatings.6 C8 is a
breakdown product of telomers, such as products Zonyl and Teflon Advanced7.

It’s in the blood of almost every American8. It’s in the blood of people all over the world.9 It’s in polar
bears and other animals in the once pristine arctic.10 How did it get there? No one really knows. That is
why the EPA began an intensive review of both C8 and telomers. Because C8 is man-made and does not
occur in the environment naturally, scientists are looking to consumer products as the culprits for
contaminating our earth and our bodies.11

Why is it of concern?12

   C8 ―likely‖ causes cancer in humans, according to a draft report by an EPA scientific advisory
    board.13
   C8 definitively causes cancer in lab animals – something DuPont even admits. Rats and monkeys
    have developed liver, testicular, mammary and pancreatic tumors after being exposed to C8.
   C8 targets the liver. In rats and mice, the liver increases in weight.
   C8 is persistent – it does not break down any further.14
   In humans, C8 has a half-life of 4.4 years, estimated by a recent study of retired workers. That is, once
    it is in our bodies, half the amount remains for 4.4 years.
Especially in Workers…

 Prostate cancer mortality was linked to employment duration in a 3M plant where C8 was
  manufactured, in one study.
 Higher than normal levels of cholesterol—a risk factor for heart attack and stroke—were observed in
  workers exposed to C8 in several studies.
 Increased blood levels of C8 are associated with increased white blood cells (leucocytes) in
  workers, in a 1997 ―Hazard characterization for human health C8 exposure.‖ This suggests that
   workers are under stress from infection or disease, consistent with a picture of poor immune
   function, according to EWG.15
 Studies have found other human health effects that may be linked to C8 exposure, such as increased
  rate of death from cerebrovascular disease (stroke) and bladder cancer, but the EPA deems the
  evidence inconclusive and needing more study.
 According to a 1981 DuPont review of seven Washington Works female workers who gave birth, two
  out of the seven women had children with birth defects.16

What DuPont says…

To date no human health effects are known to be caused by C8 even in workers who have significantly
higher exposure levels than the general population. In fact, DuPont says that the lack of health effects in
its workers proves it is not harmful.17

But …

1. DuPont has not done the necessary medical monitoring of all its affected employees. For example,
   workers at the Washington Works facility – most of whom were likely exposed to elevated C8 – were
   found in DuPont studies to have higher than normal levels of leukemia, rheumatic heart disease,
   atherosclerosis and aneurysm, but the company reportedly did not gather the data needed to assess the
   relationship to C8 exposure.18
2. Most studies performed on workers are performed on adult males while evidence shows women and
   children may be the most at risk. An EPA review of exposure data for young girls and women of
   childbearing age suggests they have higher health risks. On average, children have C8 levels of 5.6
   ppb, some with levels as high as 56.1 ppb.19
3. It may take many years for health effects, especially chronic disease, cancer and heart disease, to
   appear.

USW is stepping up to protect all workers and all citizens, because it has become
blaringly obvious that DuPont won’t.

       When we discovered paper workers may also be exposed to C8 at high levels, we were quick to
        react. We first contacted paper union reps about the chemical and then demanded CEOs of paper
        companies protect their workers.
       Recently, we alerted Fayetteville, North Carolina workers to the high blood levels detected in
        some workers at their plant where APFO is made.
       Our message to businesses that may sell products that may contain C8 has been to protect the
        public. We believe corporations have a duty to warn consumers about possible exposure to this
        chemical. In fact, distributors or retailers could be found liable for failure to warn customers, as
        they have been found in cases involving other products.
In the end, our concern is twofold. DuPont must find viable alternatives to C8 and not abandon workers
and their jobs if they have worked with the old chemicals. Secondly, DuPont must monitor the health of
any employee who handled C8 and ensure their safety is its top priority. The safety of its workforce is
DuPont’s responsibility and it is time for it to change its ways and become accountable for its actions.
1
  See the internal documents and Good Morning America movie clip at www.ewg.org.
2
  John Heilprin. November 16, 2005. Hidden risks of Teflon-like chemical raised by documents, company insider.
Associated Press. Document at ww.ewg.org
3
  E.I. DuPont De Nemours & CO. November 3, 2005. 10Q SEC Filing.
4
  Paintings & Coating Industry. April 1, 2005. New Fluorosurfactants Address Environmental Concerns
Surrounding C8 Telomer Chemistries. And Paintings & Coating Industry. January 1, 2003. Features Item: Laying
the Foundation for New Technologies.
5
  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). April 10, 2003. Preliminary risk assessment of the developmental
toxicity associated with exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts. And: Environmental Working Group. 2003.
PFCs: A chemical family that contaminates the planet. At www.ewg.org/reports/pfcworld/.
6
  http://www2.dupont.com/PFOA/en_US/about_pfoa/pfoa_definition.html
7
  DuPont reports that PFOA ―may form as an unintended by-product during manufacture‖ of telomer-based products
in a letter to carpet cleaners. Also see, Environmental Working Group. 2003. PFCs: A chemical family that
contaminates the planet. At www.ewg.org/reports/pfcworld/.
8
  Burris JM, Lundberg JK, Olsen GW, Simpson D, Mandel JH. 2002. Interim report:Determination of serum half-
lives of several fluorochemicals. AR2261086. Washington, D C: U.S . Environmental Protection Agency.
9
  Kannan K, Corsolini S, Falandysz J, Fillmann G, Kumar KS, Loganathan BG, Mohd MA, Olivero J, Van Wouwe
N, Yang JH, Aldoust KM. 2004. Perfluorooctanesulfonate and related fluorochemicals in human blood from several
countries. Environ Sci Technol 38(17): 4489-95.
10
   Ellis, D. A.; Martin, J. W.; De Silva, A. O.; Mabury, S. A.; Hurley, M. D.; Sulbaek Andersen, M. P.; Wallington,
T. J. 2004. Degradation of Fluorotelomer Alcohols: A Likely Atmospheric Source of Perfluorinated Carboxylic
Acids. Environ. Sci. Technol. 38(12): 3316-3321.
11
   EPA PFOA home page. www.epa.gov/opptintr/pfoa/index.htm. And Telomer Research Program. 2001. Update
and Status Report. Presentation to the US Environmental Protection Ageincy. December 18, 2001.
12
   Unless further noted, information about health effects comes from: Environmental Protection Agency. January
2005. Draft Risk Assessment of the Potential Human Health Effects Associated with Exposure to Perfluorooctanoic
Acid and its Salts.
13
   Juliet Eilperin. June 29, 2005. Compound in Teflon a ―likely carcinogen. The Washington Post.
14
   Also see: Environmental Working Group. 2003.
15
   Environmental Working Group. 2003.
16
   Environmental Working Group. 2003.
17
   Associated Press. November 5, 2005. Thousands Signup for C8 Health Screening.
18
   Environmental Protection Agency. January 2005.
19
   Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). April 10, 2003. And: The Columbus Dispatch. March 28, 2003.
―DuPont chemical may harm females.‖

								
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