It is inappropriate for Plastics News to portray DuPont's actions in managing perfluorooctanoic acid, a surfactant used to make fluoropolymers, as an example of “how not to build community trust” [“DuPont needs to get priorities straight,” June 16, Page 8]. We are particularly concerned that your publication chose to write such an editorial without talking to us in advance.
DuPont respects the rights and desires of people around the world to know that the products they use and rely upon are safe. That respect begins with the people who manufacture our products and their families and friends who live in the communities surrounding our plants.
We would like to set the record straight about DuPont's water sampling in Little Hocking, Ohio, in the mid-1980s that was the focus of the allegations printed in your editorial. DuPont first sampled the Little Hocking water system in March 1984 and detected PFOA at the lower limit of detection for the test method. Another test performed three months later to confirm the results, as well as follow-up tests in 1987 and 1988, did not detect PFOA. As a result, no further tests were conducted until 2002, when PFOA at levels of two to three parts per billion was detected in the Little Hocking water system. These results were promptly reported to both regulators and the local water provider.
We also believe it is inaccurate to claim that either the current legal action against DuPont in West Virginia or the questions raised in Little Hocking are the underlying reasons for the Environmental Protection Agency review process for PFOA. Global fluoropolymer and fluorotelomer manufacturers have been in discussions with EPA about PFOA for several years as the agency has researched a number of perfluorinated materials. DuPont has led the industry both in working with EPA and in developing technologies to reduce PFOA emissions.
We support the review process begun by EPA. While we are confident that our products and operations are safe, we believe that in this case a science-based, participative review process can help build assurance among the public that PFOA can be used safely.
Richard J. Angiullo