Pollution Stigma Sticking to DuPont's Teflon


EWG Scientists Release First Comprehensive Review on Hazardous Chemicals Used to Make Teflon, Scotchgard, Stainmaster, Gore-Tex, Other Popular Products

WASHINGTON -- As a draft US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report highlights serious emerging health concerns over a chemical associated with the manufacture of DuPont's Teflon product, a first- ever review finds pollution and health risks posed by the entire family of chemicals to which the Teflon-associated chemical belongs.

Environmental Working Group (EWG) scientists spent the last three years reviewing 50,000 pages of regulatory studies and government documents obtained from EPA; internal industry documents disclosed in ongoing litigation; and a growing body of independent studies on the toxicity and environmental occurrence of perfluorochemicals (PFCs).

The EWG review finds that PFCs have contaminated the blood of virtually every American, and supports EPA's findings that the Teflon-associated chemical presents health risks for women and girls.

EWG found that the scientific consensus is that PFCs, for all practical purposes, never break down, they widely pollute human blood, and they are found in people at high levels. The Group's findings are free and available to the public at www.ewg.org. The site includes an interactive global map, showing nearly all publicly available findings of PFCs in people, animals, air and water -- 2,300 test results in all.

"These chemicals have been in use for 50 years, they've found their way into the body of every American, and we're just now starting to understand the health effects. That means we need a better system for testing industrial chemicals' health effects -- before we permit their use," said EWG Senior Scientist Kris Thayer.

Just three years ago, EPA forced another member of the 'perfluorochemical' (PFC) family off the market -- PFOS, the original ingredient in Scotchgard for more than 40 years.

PFCs are the foundation of a multi-billion dollar industry that makes such popular stain- and water-resistant consumer products as Gore-Tex, Scotchgard, SilverStone and Stainmaster.