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DuPont Magically Granted Three-Year Extension on Safety Testing of PFOA (Teflon)

Saturday, April 11, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: Teflon, health news, Natural News

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(NaturalNews) The Environmental Appeals Board of the U.S. federal government has granted the DuPont corporation a three-year extension on its obligation to conduct a comprehensive assessment of a widely used chemical believed to expose consumers to the toxic substance perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).

A number of studies have linked PFOA to health problems, with one more recent study linking it for the first time to infertility. The chemical, used to manufacture nonstick surfaces such as Teflon, has been found in the blood of people around the world. Under a voluntary EPA initiative, DuPont and a number of other companies have agreed to phase out all use of PFOA by 2015.

Under the terms of an agreement it signed in 2005, DuPont was required to comprehensively test another group of its chemicals, fluorotelomers, to see if PFOA is produced as a byproduct of the chemicals' manufacture or decomposition. The agreement was part of DuPont's commitments in settling a lawsuit filed against it by workers and residents who claimed that the company had concealed evidence of PFOA contamination at and near a DuPont factory in West Virginia.

Fluorotelomers are used in the production of stain-resistant carpets and textiles, fire-fighting foams, leather protectants and grease-resistant food packaging.

DuPont claims that it needs more time to analyze its nine fluorotelomer products, because it needs to develop a method to purify them first. The Environmental Appeals Board agreed to give the company three more years to fulfill that obligation from its lawsuit settlement.

Richard Wiles, executive director of the Environmental Working Group, blasted the decision, saying that any promises to phase out PFOA are meaningless if exposure to the chemical might still be coming from other sources.

"As long as they can delay development of this data, that basically means that they don't have to comply with the phase-out agreement," Wiles said.

Sources for this story include: www.ewg.org.

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