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DuPont Responds to EPA Allegations

August 16, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 33

DuPont last week refuted allegations by EPA that the company violated federal law by failing to provide information on a fluorochemical to the agency. In July, EPA filed a legal complaint against DuPont alleging that the firm failed to tell the agency for 20 years that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was found in the umbilical cord of a female worker's baby in 1981 (C&EN, July 12, page 18). EPA contends that, because this information shows the synthetic chemical crossed the placenta, DuPont should have reported the finding as a potential substantial risk to health as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act. DuPont responds that this single piece of information, showing what the company calls "a trace presence of PFOA," does not associate the substance with risk to human health. The company also rebutted EPA's claim that DuPont should have filed a substantial risk report when it found PFOA in public water supplies near a Parkersburg, W.Va., plant in the 1990s. Levels of the chemical in the wells exceeded DuPont's voluntary community exposure guideline for PFOA. The company says its corporate guideline is almost 150 times more stringent than EPA's drinking water guidance for PFOA, which was issued in 2002. EPA has not yet announced the size of the fine it will seek from DuPont for the alleged violations.


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