The Teflon Precedent
DuPont to Be Fined for Toxic Chemical in Teflon
The U.S. EPA has announced it will levy a substantial fine — perhaps the largest environmental fine in U.S. history — against chemical giant DuPont, charging the company with illegally concealing evidence that a chemical used to make Teflon endangered its employees and the public. The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), has caused developmental and other problems in animal studies, something DuPont was allegedly aware of as early as March 1981. PFOA was found in the blood of almost all of the 1,500 Americans recently tested for it. Scientists believe exposure comes not through cooking with Teflon but through a manufacturing process that leaves traces of the chemical in soil and groundwater. The EPA was spurred to action by complaints from the Environmental Working Group and will negotiate the exact amount of the fine — potentially hundreds of millions of dollars — in the coming months.