- WEB EXCLUSIVE
- PE COFFEEHAUS
Tests by the EPA have turned up trace amounts of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an ingredient often used in non-stick applications for cookware, in nearly every human sample the agency collected. EPA investigations have been ongoing since 2000 to determine the risks to people with it in their bloodstreams. The chemical is very persistent in the environment and does not break down.
PFOA is used in several applications, quite commonly in the manufacture of Teflon-coated cookware. Dupont recently published test results from non-stick cookware and reported that PFOA residues were “not detected in over 40 extraction tests on nonstick cookware under test conditions simulating cooking and prolonged food or consumer contact.” But that same study, in the June 1 Environmental Science & Technology, did find leaching of PFOA from certain stain-guard treatments of carpeting and upholstery, suggesting that some consumer products might be notable environmental sources of the chemical.
A new study measured blood concentrations of PFOA in 326 people from four communities in southeastern Ohio, across the river from DuPont's Teflon-making Washington (W.Va.) Works facility. Average blood concentrations of PFOA in the communities ranged from 298 to 369 ppb. These amounts were more than 60 times those found in most people, as noted by study leader Edward A. Emmett, a physician and toxicologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In general, the new study by Emmett's team found that PFOA concentrations in an individual's blood tended to be about 105 times that in the water that the person had been drinking.
Last year, the EPA charged that DuPont's failure to report the PFOA pollution of water outside its plant and substantial concentrations of the Teflon chemical in workers' blood violated the Toxic Substances Control Act. The agency charged the company with knowing about its PFOA-water-pollution problem for decades but neglecting to report it to the agency. DuPont has argued that it had no legal obligation to do so
This past Feb. 28, a judge approved a $107.6 million settlement of a three-year-old class action suit against the company by residents over water pollution near the Washington Works. As part of that accord, the company agreed to build state-of-the-art water treatment systems for the water districts - including Little Hocking.