Global Processing

EPA, DuPont in settlement over chemical

December 12, 2005

According to the Associated Press, federal regulators have reached an agreement with DuPont to settle allegations the company hid information about the dangers of a toxic chemical known as C8 used in the manufacture of Teflon. Lawyers for DuPont and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency told an administrative law judge that they had reached a final agreement, but needed more time to put together the paperwork. The EPA alleged that DuPont for 20 years covered up important information about C8''s health effects and about the pollution of water supplies near the company''s Washington Works plant. Under federal law, DuPont could face civil fines of more than $300 million for not reporting information that showed C8 posed "substantial risk of injury to health or the environment." The company has set aside $15 million to cover the costs of the lawsuit, according to corporate disclosures filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. DuPont also faces a federal criminal investigation of its actions concerning C8 pollution, the company has told shareholders. Since May, DuPont and the EPA repeatedly have said they were close to a settlement in the civil case, but had one item left to resolve. They would not identify that item. DuPont has maintained that C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, has no negative health effects. In February, DuPont settled a class-action lawsuit for $107.6 million brought by Ohio and West Virginia residents in 2001, alleging the Wilmington, Del.-based company intentionally withheld and misrepresented information concerning the nature and extent of the human health threat posed by C8.