Union charges DuPont is holding back PFOA information

RP news wires, Noria Corporation

The United Steelworkers union is condemning DuPont for "contaminating employees around the country with some of the highest levels of the Teflon chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) yet to be found in human blood, while denying workers information on potential health effects.”

According to the union, DuPont is refusing to release certain data the company collected on Parkersburg, W.Va., employees to a court-appointed panel of scientists who are investigating potential health effects suffered by thousands of Ohio and West Virginia residents after drinking water was contaminated by PFOA. DuPont has also failed to release the study and other PFOA data to a USW local union after it made a formal request.

We condemn DuPonts refusal to make the study available to its employees and the public, said Ken Test, chairman of the USW DuPont Council.

DuPont informed its USW-represented Deepwater, N.J., plant employees on November 14 that levels of PFOA in their blood were as high as 6,330 parts per billion (ppb), thousands of times higher than the average level of 5 ppb in the general population.

If PFOA is not harmful as DuPont keeps telling the world, then why the secrecy and unwillingness to share information on its effects with its employees who comprise the most exposed population, asked Jim Rowe, president of USW Local 943 in Deepwater.

PFOA has also been found as high as 800 ppb in the blood of workers at DuPonts Spruance plant in Richmond, Va., even in the wake of DuPonts statements that it stopped using the chemical years ago.

Weve been asking for information on PFOA since 2004, and DuPont is demanding a confidentiality agreement that would prevent us from giving information to government agencies, public interest groups and workers at other plants, said Jay Palmore of the Ampthill Rayon Workers Union. So, we are more than suspicious.

The USW has been conducting its own blood testing of workers and monitoring the situation at several DuPont plant locations. Publicly available data indicates that PFOA average levels of 422 ppb and levels as high as 1,870 ppb have been found in employees blood at DuPonts Fayetteville, N.C., plant, and the levels appeared to have doubled since 2002.

The plant is the sole manufacturer of PFOA in the U.S.

The USW represents 1,800 workers at DuPonts plants in the U.S.

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