By PAMELA BRUST
WASHINGTON - DuPont Washington Works plant officials
reported the company expects to achieve more than a 90 percent
reduction in total C8 emissions by the end of 2004. In a
media briefing Tuesday at the local plant, Paul J. Bossert
Jr., plant manager, said efforts to handle, control and
capture ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known as C8, began
long before an agreement was signed in 2001 with the West
Virginia Division of Environmental Protection and other state
agencies. Bossert said efforts have been ongoing for the past
20 years, with the first piece of equipment going on line in
the late 1980s to reduce emissions. The plant manager noted
the company has spent more than $16 million to "remediate,
capture and destroy, recycle C8.
"We can actually recycle it back into the process and use
it over and over again because it is a processing aid,"
Bossert said. Washington Works uses C8 in the manufacture of
DuPont officials have repeatedly stated in more than 50
years of use, there are no known adverse health effects
associated with exposure to the chemical.
Information provided by the plant shows 31,209 pounds of C8
were emitted into the atmosphere from the plant in 1999 and
55,597 pounds of the chemical were discharged into the Ohio River from the plant that same year. It is
estimated due to improvement projects at the facility, the
amount of C8 released into the air for 2002 was 14,480 pounds
and 5,688 pounds was discharged into the river.
A class action lawsuit is pending in Wood County Circuit
Court in which area residents allege the local DuPont plant
knowingly discharged C8 into its water supplies in amounts
exceeding the plant's own guidelines and that information was
concealed from the public. Plaintiffs claim C8 exposure has
made them ill, including increased risks of cancer and other
diseases. They are seeking money from DuPont for medical
testing, monitoring for possible health problems from their
exposure to C8 and damages they claim were incurred for
alleged injuries and property damage.