Â Deadly Teflon chemical – Decades of cover-ups
by: Craig Stellpflug
(NaturalNews) It’s in your cookware, your clothing, furniture, carpets, popcorn bags and even in your food! It’s perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and it remains indefinitely in the environment and even gets stuck in your body. PFOA is a toxicant and known carcinogen that has been detected in the blood of more than 98% of the US population. Exposure to this chemical has been associated with increased cholesterol, uric acid levels, preeclampsia, heart disease, liver damage, thyroid trouble, neurological disorders, chronic kidney disease and kidney cancer.
High levels of exposure to the Teflon (a DuPont registered trademark) chemical PFOA causes the risk of testicular cancer to skyrocket by 170 percent.
DuPont’s plant on the Ohio River has used PFOA since the 1950s to make chemicals used in the production of nonstick products, oil-resistant paper packaging like hamburger wrappers, and stain-resistant textiles. PFOA is pretty much in anything wrinkle-free, heat-proof, stain-resistant, and more.
Children downstream from a DuPont chemical plant on the Ohio River carry PFOA in their blood prompting one of the first studies of its effects on kids. Out of more than 10,000 kids ages 1 to 17, those with the highest levels were more likely to have thyroid disease. Of course, these results only support previous findings from studies with adults.
Thyroid hormones play critical roles in metabolism, growth and brain development. These hormones are especially important during fetal development and early childhood with small changes in thyroid hormone levels during these developmental periods affecting IQ and motor skill development in children.
DuPont fined for Teflon cover-up
In June 2005 there was a $5 billion class-action lawsuit filed against Dupont for failing to alert the public about over 20 years of known health problems associated with PFOAs. TheÂ Environmental Protection AgencyÂ later announced it would slap the $25 billionÂ TeflonÂ maker with a mere $16.5 million for two decades’ worth of covering up studies that showed it was polluting drinking water and harming newborn babies with an indestructible chemical. The fine was the largest administrative fine the EPA had ever levied under a flimsy toxicÂ chemicalÂ law and the fine was less than half of one percent of DuPont’s profits from Teflon at the time and a mere fraction of the $313 million the agency could have imposed.
TheÂ Environmental Working GroupÂ (EWG.org), said the penalty highlighted the federal government’s weak hand in dealing with industrial polluters. “What’s the appropriate fine for a $25 billion company that for decades hid vital health information about a toxic chemical that now contaminates every man, woman and child in the United States?” Group president and co-founder Ken Cook said. “We’re pretty sure it’s not $16 million, even if that is a record amount under a federal law that everyone acknowledges is extremely weak.”
Of courseÂ DuPontÂ acknowledges no liability for failure to report its 1981 discovery that a compound used to make Teflon had contaminated the placenta and bloodstream of a West Virginia worker’s unborn child. Other complaints allege that DuPont withheld information for years about unexpected contamination in the blood of workers, and pollution releases that eventually contaminated water supplies serving thousands in West Virginia and Ohio. DuPont’s official position is that they believe there are no human health effects associated with their Teflon product.
Cash is king
DuPont is one of the largest chemical companies in the world. Between 2008 and 2010, it reported over $2 billion in profits, paid no federal income taxes, increased its executive compensations by a whopping 188% and spent almost $14 million on lobbying for more corporate friendly laws. DuPont is the nation’s only manufacturer of PFOA. So why is it so difficult to stop this madness? Because Americans still buy their products and cash is king.