DuPont, 3M criticized for production of “probable” carcinogen

Public furor is simmering over a chemical used in Teflon, Scotchgard, and other miracles of non-stick, stain-resistant living. Protesters picketed DuPont’s annual shareholder meeting in Delaware yesterday, upset over the company’s environmental and labor policies — including its production of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), a “probable” carcinogen. “I will go to the stockholders meeting to show them the face of someone dying of cancer,” said Maryanne McGonegal of Common Cause of Delaware, a government watchdog group. “We have to make them understand that people die because of their environmental practices.” The company plans to phase out PFOA production by 2015, but maintains that it knows of “no human health effects” from the chemical. Meanwhile, an internal report from fellow giant 3M shows that that company was worried about PFOA and related chemicals infiltrating soil, water, and human bodies as long ago as 1983. Concerned 3M officials, quick on the draw, phased the compounds out in 2002.