Teflon and Forever Chemicals

Teflon and Forever Chemicals

Written by Jake Rogers

In 2001 a class action lawsuit was brought against DuPont Chemicals Company claiming that Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), commonly known as C8, was the cause of six different illnesses that were a result of contaminated drinking water due to chemical waste being dumped into the Ohio River from the Dupont Tuppers Plains Manufacturing Plant. The chemical was eventually linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol, and pregnancy-induced hypertension and has been found in 99% of all humans on the planet. The results of the lawsuit have shown that DuPont and 3M had known for decades that their proprietary chemical C8, which began production in 1951 for the use in Teflon, was poisonous to humans. DuPont conducted their own study in 1988 that had resulted in death in rats, dogs, and monkeys, but had been concealed from the public. 

The issue did not come to light until the early 1990’s when one farmer, Wilbur Tennant, in West Virginia revealed that his cattle had been showing mutations and deaths after drinking the water downstream from the DuPont Chemical factory. Soon after blowing the whistle on the chemical company the civil lawsuit, which included six different water companies and their customers that were poisoned by the illegal dumping, was offered a settlement of almost $500 million by DuPont. In an unprecedented decision, the plaintiffs chose to turn down the settlement and use the money to conduct a worldwide study of how far this poisoning had reached the global population. Scientists were dispatched to every country in the world finding C8 in 99% of those tested, but the researchers had no “clean blood” to use as a control for the study. The research team decided to check blood samples from former incoming American soldiers during the Korean War in 1950, and so called “clean blood” was found to be used as a control in comparison for the study. This blood was taken just one year before DuPont began mass producing C8, and studies showed that after 1951 there was no “clean blood” available. 

This exhibits how widely this contamination was spread without many of us knowing that this chemical was even entering our bloodstream. Unfortunately, the half-life of C8 is much longer than the average life of humans meaning that once ingested through drinking water or other contact, this chemical remains in the blood for the rest of their life. Teflon, commercially used for non-stick cooking pans, was also used for anything that is “waterproof” such as Scotchgard, waterproof clothing, shoes, and a number of other products that come into contact with people every day. After the studies revealed that C8 was poisonous 3M stopped manufacturing and contacted DuPont to do the same, but DuPont increased production of C8.  The EPA banned C8 in 2013 and all production stopped by 2015, but DuPont soon replaced C8 with a new chemical called GenX, which has yet to be researched and regulated. This shows how free chemical companies are to knowingly poison humanity for profits, and we must remember that this poisoning is permanent.

 

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