Products containing long-chain perfluorinated chemicals impurities are creating uneven competition in the world marketplace for businesses that purchase materials made with PFCs to manufacture products, according to Toray Fluorofibers America. The Decatur, Ala., firm manufactures Teflon-branded polytetrafluoroethylene under a license from DuPont. It voluntarily stopped using raw materials that contain PFOA as of January 2011, company spokeswoman Kristy Terry tells C&EN.
Arthur R. Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Toray Fluorofibers, told EPA in a July 17 letter that the company had received offers from Chinese vendors to supply it with fluoropolymer dispersions. The firm uses these dispersions as a raw material to make fibers used in yarns, filters, and apparel. The offers, Nelson writes, were “significantly below the market price” of suppliers voluntarily eliminating long-chain PFCs from their products and emissions.
According to Nelson, when Toray Fluorofibers asked the seller about the material’s PFOA content, the vendor said “it was so low as to be barely detectable.” When the company purchased a sample and had it analyzed, the results showed that it contained a significant amount of PFOA—between 3,200 and 3,700 ppm, he says.
“These materials and articles made from them are being offered in the U.S. at prices that reflect the lower manufacturing costs of not complying with the voluntary stewardship program,” Nelson writes. This market situation is creating a competitive burden for his company, he says.