The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is in the process of proposing a rule to end future manufacturing, importing, and/or usage of perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”). Due to concerns over PFOA’s persistence in the environment, the EPA created a voluntary program, the PFOA Stewardship Program (“Program”), to encourage companies that produce the chemical to eliminate production by 2015. Earlier this year, and ahead of schedule, DuPont ceased its production of PFOA at all of its facilities. The company has spent millions of dollars to develop and transition to alternatives to PFOA.
Consultant (and previous EPA director) Charles Auer believes that the Program demonstrates how a voluntary commitment can be an important factor in improving the environment. Additionally, he believes that the voluntary nature of the program produced quicker results than a ban or restriction would have. The EPA confirmed that DuPont was the only company in the U.S. to manufacture and import PFOA, and the EPA rule will focus on the use of the chemical.
A case in New Jersey recently arose out of exposure to PFOA resulting from DuPont’s release of the chemical into the Delaware River and a nearby landfill by its DuPont Chamber Works plant. The company’s release of PFOA resulted in the contamination of the water supply, exposing 4,248 homes in Salem County to the chemical. On August 8, 2011, the Toxic Injury Lawyers succeeded in attaining an $8.2 million settlement for the class members of two class action suits against DuPont for the contamination of their water supply.
DuPont’s cessation of manufacturing and importing PFOA, and the EPA’s upcoming proposed rule, will most likely reduce or prevent harmful contamination such as the event in Salem County from occurring in the future.
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