EPA Wants To Eliminate Teflon Chemical

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The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday invited the DuPont Co. and other chemical companies to join a global effort to eliminate use of a chemical utilized in making Teflon and other nonstick and stain-resistant products that may pose potential health risks to humans.

The initiative calls for DuPont and seven other companies that manufacture or use perfluorooctanoic acid, its precursors, and similar compounds to reduce environmental releases and levels of those chemicals in products by 95 percent no later than 2010, using the year 2000 as a baseline.

The EPA also wants the industry to work toward the elimination of PFOA and related chemicals from emissions and products by no later than 2015.

"We think this is a great opportunity for industry to get ahead of the curve and demonstrate leadership in protecting the environment," said Charles Auer, director of EPA's Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics.

Auer said EPA administrator Stephen Johnson sent letters to the eight companies Wednesday inviting them to commit to the program by March 1.

The companies are being asked to provide 2000 baseline data by October, and to report each October on their progress.

DuPont officials have agreed to participate in the program.

"We've been working on this emission reduction activity for a number of years," said DuPont vice president Susan Stalnecker. "We feel very confident that we will be able to meet the goals EPA has set."

While DuPont has eliminated PFOA emissions by more than 90 percent in recent years, the company does not believe it can eliminate the use of PFOA in product manufacturing any time soon.

"We've been looking for 30 years and we have not found an acceptable substitute for PFOA," said David Boothe, business manager for DuPont fluoroproducts, adding that the company is committed to working toward the EPA's goal of eliminating PFOA and related chemicals from emissions and products.

Other companies invited to participate in the voluntary program are 3M/Dyneon Arkema Inc., AGC Chemicals/Asahi Glass, Ciba Specialty Chemicals, Clariant Corp., Daikin and Solvay Solexis.
  • Gina Pace

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