Industry News

DuPont Responds to EPA Complaint on Alleged PFOA Reporting Violations

Published on 2004-08-17. Author : SpecialChem


DuPont reaffirmed that it fully and promptly reported to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all appropriate information regarding PFOA, an essential processing aid used to make fluoropolymers.

"Our company has been and will continue to be forthright in providing information to the EPA that goes beyond compliance and, at the same time, helps the agency's efforts to improve its understanding of PFOA," said DuPont General Counsel Stacey Mobley.

DuPont reiterated that it is fully supportive of EPA's review of PFOA that began in April 2003 and is providing industry leadership as part of the process. The company recognizes that there are questions about the persistence of PFOA and, as a result, has developed and implemented both state-of-the-art manufacturing technology in Fayetteville, N. C., and emissions control technology in Parkersburg, W.Va., that have reduced PFOA emissions by as much as 99 percent. DuPont is sharing the emissions control technology broadly with other companies to reduce PFOA emissions on a global basis.

The company draws a clear distinction between resolution of the reporting issues raised in the complaint and the continuing effort by EPA to gain a better understanding of the potential risks associated with exposure to PFOA.

The company said that it has complied with the requirements and regulatory guidelines established under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA). "Our response today to the agency is thorough and complete - we are confident that we have met all reporting obligations," said Mobley. DuPont responded today to the three specific counts in the EPA complaint summarized as follows:

1. EPA contends that a blood monitoring data point recorded in 1981 was reportable under TSCA and should have been available to the agency. DuPont said that this single data point, showing a trace presence of PFOA, does not associate PFOA with any risk to human health, and does not by definition meet the "substantial risk" threshold that would require reporting under the TSCA statute.

"Scientific evidence confirms that the trace amount of PFOA found in this one data point would pose no risk to human health," said Stacey. "In the absence of substantial risk of harm, the information is simply not required to be reported."

2. EPA contends that DuPont was required under regulations to report instances where water sampling data exceeded the company's voluntary community exposure guidelines for water. DuPont contends that its guideline, set in 1992 in the absence of any EPA regulation, was not created to measure risk, but is a tool that the company uses to guide its decisions for process engineering and environmental controls.

"This claim is particularly perplexing to our company," Stacey said. "It is difficult to understand how the agency can claim we committed a reporting violation based on a voluntary DuPont guideline that is almost 150 times more protective than EPA's safety guidance for drinking water - a standard adopted in 2002 by EPA Regions III and V."

3. EPA contends that DuPont failed to provide toxicological information under RCRA reporting requirements in the late 1990s. DuPont contends that the information in dispute was not a toxicological study and that it fully complied with EPA's request. "We provided the agency with the results of 22 toxicology studies, including studies of acute, chronic, developmental, genetic, and aquatic toxicity," said Stacey. "We responded completely and accurately to EPA's request, providing all relevant information."

In April of last year EPA said that it "does not believe there is any reason for consumers to stop using any consumer or industrial-related products" because of questions about PFOA. DuPont agrees fully with EPA's position and remains confident that PFOA is safe.

"We have and will continue to manage PFOA safely," said Stacey. "We expect to resolve the issues raised in the EPA complaint and will remain committed to supporting the agency in its review of the compound."

Source: DuPont

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