Today, DuPont got sued for $16.5 million by EPA. Now, please note that the largest settlement ever achieved by the EPA was $6.4 million in 1994
against Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company. Now here's the kicker, the EPA could have sued DuPont for upwards of $313 million.
Why the huge fine? What's to hide?
The EPA say's DuPont knowingly withheld enviromental and health hazards of Teflon. The substance that makes Teflon what it is, is essentially like
Asbestos, or heavy metals.. it doesn't go away.
DuPont's Teflon® works wonders at keeping food from sticking to pots and pans. But after 50 years of use, evidence is mounting that Teflon's key
ingredient, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), "sticks" in the environment indefinitely. Environmental health advocates are concerned that exposure to
environmental PFOA as well as to airborne fumes released when nonstick cookware overheats may be more toxic than realized.
PFOA is a synthetic chemical used to give Teflon its essential non-stickiness. Problem is, the chemical is apparently just as durable an environmental
contaminant as it is a finish on pots and pans. That is, PFOA doesn't break down. As a result, there's plenty of PFOA floating around. So
much that one study, released by the 3M Company in 2001, found that PFOA was present in the blood of 96 percent of 598 children tested in 23
states and the District of Columbia.
DuPont officials, who did not admit legal liability as part of the agreement, said they did not deliberately withhold information from the government
and settled with EPA only to avoid a long and costly court battle.
"The fact of the matter is we could have litigated this, and some of my staff thought we should do that because we did nothing wrong," said Stacey
J. Mobley, DuPont's senior vice president and general counsel. "We decided to put this matter behind us and move on. We need guidance from the
agency as to what do they want. . . . Right now, after this settlement, I couldn't tell you."
The EPA is considering whether PFOA is a health risk to humans and should be regulated. The chemical has been linked to cancer and possible birth
defects in animals
, and the agency's scientific advisory board is to announce soon whether it considers it a possible or likely human carcinogen
How many pots and pans have you had with the Teflon burned off? Hmm?
"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?" Cook said. "What's the proper dollar penalty for a pollutant that will never break down, and now
finds its way into polar bears in the Arctic and human babies in their mothers' wombs? 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."