EPA asks companies to phase out toxic chemical PFOA

The U.S. EPA, having recently discovered that P stands for “protection,” has asked DuPont and seven other chemical companies to phase out use of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon cookware, stain-repellant fabrics, microwave popcorn bags, and other scarily ubiquitous household goods. If the eight companies and their overseas affiliates comply fully, says the EPA, PFOA use would decrease 95 percent by 2010, and vanish by 2015. Major PFOA maker DuPont immediately agreed to stop all emissions of the chemical from its manufacturing facilities over the next decade, noting it has already made big strides in cutting its use, but the company hasn’t committed to totally eliminating use of PFOA. Health advocates are hailing the agency’s move to rein in the bioaccumulative chemical, which is turning up in people and animals worldwide and has been linked to cancer and other health problems.