January 2005

EPA claims DuPont withheld information

EPA filed a new claim against DuPont seeking penalties for withholding the results of human blood sampling information that demonstrates levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in individuals living near a DuPont Facility in West Virginia. The administrative complaint seeks penalties of up to $32,500 per day from as early as August 28, 2004 through October 12, 2004, for failing to report this substantial risk information under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). EPA received this information, which should have been reported immediately by DuPont, several weeks after DuPont allegedly received the results. EPA has also filed a Motion to Consolidate this new complaint with a previous complaint filed against DuPont on July 8, 2004, so that the Agency may pursue both actions against DuPont in one proceeding before Administrative Law Judge Barbara A. Gunning.

At issue in this enforcement action is information that DuPont obtained and failed to report regarding blood serum analysis performed in July 2004 of 12 members of the general population living near DuPont’s Washington Works Facility. Each of the 12 individuals tested was exposed to PFOA through drinking water provided by the Lubeck Public Service District where, according to DuPont, the level of PFOA in the drinking water has averaged approximately 0.5 parts per billion (ppb) over the last several years. All 12 of the individuals tested claim to have stopped using the contaminated public drinking water as their primary source of drinking water approximately three years ago. While the average background level of PFOA in individuals residing in the U.S. is estimated to be approximately 5 ppb, the documented levels of PFOA in these 12 individuals from West Virginia range from 15.7 ppb to 128 ppb, with a mean of 67 ppb.

The agency regards this information as useful in its ongoing priority review of PFOA. EPA has been closely studying PFOA for the past three years and will issue a draft risk assessment in early 2005. To learn more about the agency’s study of PFOA, visit: http://www.epa.gov/oppt/pfoa/.

PFOA is associated with Ammonium Perfluorooctanoate (APFO), a synthetic processing aid in the manufacture of fluoropolymers, including some products at DuPont’s Washington Works Facility in Washington, West Virginia. The previous complaint against DuPont involved information about the movement of PFOA from a pregnant woman to her baby, and the contamination of public drinking water supplies in the vicinity of DuPont’s Washington Works Facility.

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