From Staff & Wire Reports
WASHINGTON - Limits on airborne emissions of C8 from
DuPont's Washington Works plant will be enforced as part of
the company's pollution permits, a spokesman for the state
Department of Environmental Protection said. The agency
notified DuPont of the change in its permits by letter sent
out this morning, DEP lawyer Perry McDaniel said.
C8, also known as ammonium perfluorooctanoate, is a key
chemical used in the manufacturing of Teflon, but so far it
has not been regulated by either state or federal agencies.
Little is known for certain about the chemical, including its
effects on human health.
A limit of 1 microgram per cubic meter of C8 was
established as the long-term exposure limit in a report issued
by the DEP's toxicology team in August. This means the average
annual emission of C8 cannot eclipse that level at any point
beyond DuPont's property.
DuPont agreed to limit C8 emissions in a December 2001
consent order. Modifying the company's pollution permits to
include this standard allows for more consistency, because
DuPont's air emission requirements are all in one place,
McDaniel said the agency has made it clear that the
standard imposed on DuPont's permits "is a provisional number,
a number to use for compliance between now and the time that
U.S. EPA comes out with an official standard.
"We thought it was important do something, and this is they
way we could do that," he said.
Dawn Jackson, external affairs specialist at the Washington
Works plant, said linking the standard to the permit will not
alter DuPont's efforts to reduce emissions.
"DuPont Washington Works continues to improve its
environmental performance with regard to C-8," she said. "For
example, a recent report (from DuPont to the DEP) shows that
between 1999 and 2002, DuPont Washington Works reduced its C-8
(air and water) emissions by more than 75 percent."
While DuPont has been cooperative in providing C8
information, McDaniel said, the letter requests more data.
Recent changes made at the plant could affect the emission
"We cannot make a decision, as of today, whether they are
in compliance," he said.
Using emissions information from DuPont, the DEP will
create models to project the levels of C8 in the air beyond
the plant's fence line.
If the plant is not in compliance, it will be notified by
the DEP and have 60 days to notify the agency how it plans to
reach an acceptable level.
There is no evidence C8 causes any long-term health effects
in humans, but the DEP supports further testing, McDaniel
DuPont officials have said there have been no known health
effects on humans in the more than 50 years the company has
A class action lawsuit was filed in Wood County Circuit
Court by area residents claiming the plant knowingly
discharged amounts of C8 exceeding its own guidelines into the
water supply and that information was hidden from the public.
The plaintiffs allege C8 has made them ill, including
increased risk of cancer and other diseases.
They are seeking funds from DuPont for medical testing and
monitoring of potential health problems, as well as monetary
The DEP is reviewing workplace standards for exposure to C8
as a means of deciding whether a need exists to establish
levels of C8 exposure for the general public.
"We want to look at the science behind workplace exposure
limits to see if that would provide us with information to
enforce emission levels," McDaniel said. "We want to find out
if these workplace limits have any application to protection
for the general public."
At the same time, the state DEP has asked for help from a
number of other agencies, including the federal Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, the National Institutes for
Occupational Safety and Health, the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency and the Ohio state EPA, McDaniel