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Teflon Toxicity Merits a Slap on The Wrist From EPA

Remember that settlement between DuPont and the EPA over perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) -- the chemical used to make Teflon -- I told you about last month? Fines were initially expected to exceed $300 million, one of the biggest ever levied. Apparently, that was a grossly optimistic number...

The $16.5 million settlement -- about 95 percent short of that original estimate -- still remains the largest penalty ever assessed by the agency. But, part of that fine is a $6.25 million "pledge" by DuPont to fund environmental projects, including one to determine how and if some company products break down into PFOA over time.

Needless to say, the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the watchdog organization that gave the EPA the information it needed to launch its Teflon probe, wasn't pleased. Considering remnants of PFOA can be found in the bloodstreams of nearly all Americans, how can the government penalize DuPont enough?

What's more a DuPont lawyer, according to EWG, dismissed the settlement as no more than the cost of doing business, a safe bet the company will do this again one day...

Just a reminder, PFOA not only coats non-stick cookware but the paper plates you use and those bags of popcorn you prepare in the microwave.

Washington Post December 15, 2005

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