By Callie Lyons, firstname.lastname@example.org
Even though some area consumers think it may be a good idea
to put warning labels on non-stick pots and pans, the U.S.
Consumer Product Safety Commission decided there is not enough
evidence of danger to human health. The Consumer Product
Safety Commission denied a petition to put the warning labels
on items that use the substance known as Teflon.
The decision is relevant to Mid-Ohio Valley citizens
because one of the ingredients in Teflon is a chemical with
the trade name of C8. It is that chemical that
is used at DuPont's Washington, W.Va., Works plant, and the
chemical has found its way into several area water systems.
The decision not to put on the warning labels was welcomed
by DuPont, which says the chemical has no harmful effect on
human health. But it was not supported by those who believe
the chemical is harmful.
"We were not supplied with enough data to demonstrate a
human health risk," said Ken Giles, commission spokesman,
about why the warning labels were not approved. "That doesn't
mean we are not looking at the issue."
The commission will continue to participate in the
Environmental Protection Agency's investigation into the
toxicity of the PFOA family of chemicals which is used to
"We were pleased to learn of the commission's decision and
feel that it reinforces DuPont's position that cookware made
with Teflon non-stick coating is totally safe for consumer and
commercial use," said Clif Webb, DuPont spokesman.
The DuPont plant has used and emitted C8 for 50 years and company
officials say no harmful health effects have been observed in
EPA studies reveal that the chemical, which causes
developmental and reproductive problems in laboratory animals,
can be found in the bloodstream of more than 90 percent of
One finding is that the chemical does affect the health of
birds, and that was an issue considered by the commission.
"There is the issue of birds dying," Giles said. "But they
need to show a risk of human health hazards."
Giles said a petition for warning labels must demonstrate a
clear health risk with specific recommendations for federal
regulations and evidence that the regulations and warning
labels would reduce the health risk.
The request or the labels was made by the Environmental
Working Group, a Washington-based environmental action group.
Giles said the door was open for the group to return with a
new petition for warning labels when more information becomes
Dr. Kris Thayer of the Environmental Working Group
expressed disappointment with the commission's decision.
"It's ironic that the CPSC can't study the toxicity of
Teflon cookware until we have more victims of polymer fume
fever," Thayer said. "Shouldn't we do studies and find out
what studies companies have already done, before people get
sick, rather than after?"
Thayer said human health data is exactly what the EPA
investigation is aiming to uncover.
"I hope that the federal investigation of PFOA will reveal
more information about the dangers of Teflon chemicals to
people," Thayer said.
In the meantime, people like Debra Cochran of Pageville are
still waiting for a determination on the risks of C8, which has been detected in
her family's Tuppers Plains drinking water supply. Like many
area citizens, she is closely following the debate over
whether the chemical is harmful, and she has strong feelings
"A cover-up has already occurred for many years," Cochran
said. "DuPont has known of the hazards of C8 for many years and refused
to acknowledge its existence or do anything about it."