EPA, DuPont settle Teflon lawsuit

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 on Nov. 23 that they had reached a final agreement, but needed more time to put together the paperwork. Judge Barbara A. Gunning then gave the parties until Jan. 13 to file the formal agreement.

"The request for additional time is to accommodate EPA's procedural rules which require the Environmental Appeals Board to review and approve any settlement reached by the parties," the EPA said Tuesday in a statement.

Officials from both the EPA and DuPont refused to release terms of the deal.

"We are not commenting on that particular issue at this time," said Robin Ollis, spokeswoman for DuPont Co.'s Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg, W.Va.

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.