Monday, December 05, 2005

Is There Hidden Teflon in Your Water?

Trouble finds DuPont's Teflon non-stick coating (again), as tens of thousands of Ohio and West Virginia residents will have their tap water tested over the next 12 months to determine if their health has been compromised by drinking water contaminated with a chemical used to make the coating known as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Aside from cookware, Teflon can be found in everything from clothing to car parts and flooring.
Tests will be administered on as many as 80,000 residents who receive their tap water from six public water districts or private wells where PFOA has been found near DuPont's Washington Works plant along the Ohio River near Parkersburg.
And in addition to knowing whether their water is contaminated with the chemical, residents will also receive $150 to answer a health questionnaire; and if they agree to submit a blood sample, an additional $250. The blood sample will be subjected to 51 blood tests that check for cancer markers, organ functioning and the presence of PFOA.
However, only residents who received the water for at least a year before December 3, 2004 will be eligible to participate in the testing.

DuPont Fits the Bill
DuPont agreed to pay for the screenings to settle a 2001 class-action lawsuit filed by residents who claimed the company intentionally hid and misrepresented information concerning the nature and extent of the human threat posed by PFOA in drinking water.

Costs include:
About $70 million for resident payments and lab work.
An estimated cost of $10 million to provide the six water utilities with new treatment equipment to reduce the chemical in water supplies.
And, based on the findings, another $235 billion to monitor the residents' health.
The goal is to complete all testing in a year and hand it over to a panel of court-approved epidemiologists for their review.
MSNBC July 8, 2005

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