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EPA Takes Enforcement Action Against DuPont For Toxic Substances Reporting Violations

Release Date: 07/08/2004
Contact Information:


Contact: Cynthia Bergman, 202-564-9828 / bergman.cynthia@epa.gov


(07/08/04) EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA) is taking an administrative action against E. I. DuPont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) for two violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and one violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). These violations consist of multiple failures to report information to EPA about substantial risk of injury to human health or the environment from a chemical during a period beginning in June of 1981 through March of 2001. Companies are required by TSCA to report such information immediately. EPA has the authority to seek a penalty of $25,000 per day for violations occurring before January 30, 1997, and up to $27,500 per day for violations occurring thereafter, for each day that DuPont failed to report the information. EPA alleges that DuPont did not submit to the Agency information the company had obtained regarding the synthetic chemical Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA). PFOA is used in the manufacturing process for fluoropolymers, including some Teflon® products, at DuPont’s Washington Works facility in Washington, West Virginia.

In 1981, the company observed PFOA in blood samples taken from pregnant workers at the Washington Works facility and at least one woman had transferred the chemical to her fetus. DuPont detected the chemical in public water supplies as early as the mid-1980s in West Virginia and Ohio communities in the vicinity of the Washington Works facility. By 1991 DuPont had information that the chemical was in water supplies at a greater level than the company’s exposure guidlelines indicated would be without any effect to members of the community. In 1997, DuPont failed to provide EPA with all toxicological information the company had regarding PFOA, despite an EPA request for such information under the terms of an EPA-issued RCRA permit. An attorney working on a class action suit on behalf of citizens in Ohio and West Virginia brought this information to the EPA in 2001.

The information that DuPont had obtained about PFOA was, and continues to be, pertinent to the Agency's ongoing work to better understand PFOA. Since April 2003, EPA has been working cooperatively with DuPont, 3M, other companies, and interested parties to develop the information necessary to better understand the sources and exposure pathways of PFOA. This public effort will lead to the development of information that will assist the Agency in determining what voluntary or regulatory actions, if any, would be appropriate to protect human health and environment. This rigorous scientific review will ensure that any future regulatory action on PFOA is protective of public health and supported by the best scientific information. EPA is working to complete a revised risk assessment, which will be released in Fall 2004 for public peer review by the Agency’s Science Advisory Board. To learn more about the Agency’s ongoing evaluation of PFOA visit: http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/pfoa/

To view the complaint, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/complaints/civil/mm/dupont-pfoa-complaint.pdf