The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

DuPont Refuses to Release Teflon Chemical Study

by Catherine Komp

While withholding its full report, Dupont is touting findings it says exonerate the controversial substance PFOA.

Oct. 19, 2006 – DuPont scientists say a recently completed 50-year study proves that a Teflon-related chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, poses no increased mortality risk for exposed workers.

While DuPont claims to be "committed to objective, transparent" research on the chemical, also known as PFOA, the company refused to release the full study to the public.

According to a two-page summary of the study released by DuPont, the findings are the result of a 50-year examination of 6,027 people who worked at the Washington Works plant in West Virginia.

Despite a DuPont press statement this week saying the study was "released," company spokesperson Dan Turner told The NewStandard that the full study is not publicly available. Turner would not give an expected release date of the full study, which he said is currently being submitted for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Though DuPont was quick to promote the scientists’ conclusions to the press, and many news outlets were quick to report them, the company only released the executive summary, which contains no information about the study’s authors.

When TNS asked why DuPont would not release the full study before it was ready for publication, Turner said, "We felt that this is information that we wanted to get out in a timely fashion for the workers and the people in that community."

PFOA is used in the Teflon-manufacturing process for products like non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets, outdoor clothing, and paper coatings for food packaging. The chemical has been found in fish, birds and mammals across the globe.

As previously reported by TNS, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a formal warning about PFOA last March, saying the Agency could no longer conclude the chemical "will not present an unreasonable risk to human health and the environment."

The EPA also fined DuPont $16.5 million in 2005 for failing to report information showing the use of PFOA at a West Virginia plant presented a risk to humans, animals and the environment.

The EPA found that PFOA has a “high level of toxicity and [has] shown liver, developmental, and reproductive toxicity at very low dose levels in exposed laboratory animals.� A peer review of the EPA’s “Draft Risk Assessment� of PFOA agreed with it “generally� but found it too feeble, recommending that the chemical be labeled a “likely carcinogen.�

DuPont, which has aggressively refuted findings that PFOA is dangerous, now claims that its new study “supports a conclusion that there are no human health effects known to be caused by PFOA.�

But the executive summary released by DuPont indicates that the scientists only studied mortality rates and not other health effects of PFOA.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Catherine Komp is a contributing journalist.

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