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Saturday, March 08, 2003
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DuPont criticizes report from Little Hocking residents

From Staff Reports

WASHINGTON, W.Va. - DuPont officials Friday criticized reports that Little Hocking area residents living near Washington Works could have higher concentrations of C8 in their blood than plant workers.

DuPont Washington Works Plant Manager Paul Bossert and Director of the DuPont Haskell Laboratory for Health & Environmental Sciences Robert Rickard said recent reports claiming that residents in some Ohio communities may have concentrations of C8 in their blood double that of employees who work with the chemical are unrealistic, misleading and could raise unnecessary concern among community residents.

C8, or ammonium perfluorooctanoate, is an essential process aid used to manufacture fluoropolymer resins at the Washington Works plant. The recent claims are based on a letter sent to Ohio and federal environmental regulators by Rob Bilott, who is leading a class action lawsuit against DuPont claiming that C8 has harmed area residents and the environment.

DuPont disputes the claims and says it believes it will prevail in court.

"There is absolutely no factual data to support the claim that people living in communities near the Washington Works site would have higher levels of C8 in their blood than would DuPont employees actually working with C8," said Bossert. "On the contrary, data from our own employees who live in the community but do not work near C8 confirm that people in the community have levels of C8 in their blood significantly lower than employees who are exposed to C8 in the workplace. The bottom line is that we have factual data that indicate that the highest blood levels are in DuPont employees who work in the C8 area, and we know that there have been no adverse health effects seen in those employees."

Rickard, a board-certified toxicologist who oversees DuPont's toxicology and industrial medicine programs, said the model upon which the claims are based is theoretical and has not been validated scientifically. "The model is clearly inaccurate because its projections are higher than what we know to be true based on more than 20 years of monitoring our employees. I am confident that the projections in the model are a significant over-estimation of potential blood levels in the community."

Research is under way to determine whether a valid model can be built, said Richard. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is being updated on this regularly, said Rickard.

"The idea that DuPont would ever knowingly put the people in the communities in which we operate in harm's way is preposterous and contrary to the culture of DuPont, which puts safety first always," said Bossert.

"We have every confidence that our operation at Washington Works is safe for our employees and neighbors in the community."

 

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