DuPont's deadly deceit: The decades-long cover-up behind the "world's most slippery material" - where to get mylar
About 20 years ago, Kara batlitt, 41year -
The old Secretary of West Virginia and the mother of two children were diagnosed with cancer for the first time, and her surgeon later called kidney cancer of the "garden variety" type.
"I'm scared to death," said batlitt, 59, this fall, at the first hearing of more than 3,500 personal injury and wrong death lawsuits by West Virginia and Ohio residents against the chemical giant DuPont, he told the Ohio federal jury.
"All I can think of is not there and can't be there for my family.
Batlitt's tumor and part of her ribs were removed during an operation in 1997, and she said that she was almost cut in half during the operation.
"Although cancer has not recurred since then, physical and emotional harm remains for batlitt.
"I never thought about it because you're always worried about it," she said . ".
"Then I think of scars every day, you know, this is . . . . . . This is cancer;
This may come back.
On October 7, after less than a day of deliberation, the jury found that DuPont was responsible for the cancer of Bartlett and agreed with the defendant, the company over the years has neglected to use a toxic chemical to pollute her drinking water supply in the Tuppers plain, Ohio, a chemical previously used to make its signature brand no.
To make this judgment compelling, unlike, say, melanoma-a lung cancer that is almost entirely associated with asbestos contact-attacks renal cell carcinoma of batterite is often not considered a business card for specific carcinogens.
So it's hard for her doctor to say exactly what made batlitt sick-it could be anything. The $1.
6 million the jury awarded Bartlett, a product of decades of legal struggle, digging up a large number of DuPont secret research and internal emails, although it is difficult to link common diseases to specific chemicals, the current legal system in the United States.
To prove that DuPont is legally responsible for the kidney cancer of batlitt, it takes years for innovative lawyers to work, and sometimes luck is bad.
The impossibility of this ruling suggests that there are many flaws in the way the country regulates potentially hazardous chemicals.
For the vast majority of the thousands of chemicals used daily in the United States, there is no mandatory safety test, when doctors and public health officials try to identify potential health hazards, they have little information to guide them-including the chemicals DuPont has knowingly allowed to pollute batlitt's drinking water --
Batlitt's pain is also a cautionary story about the C8. it has become so common today that it is found in the blood of almost every American.
"Part of the diagnosis is: Well, tell me where you are," Mike paantonio, a lawyer at batlitt, told the jury in the opening debate of the case.
"Well, I drank my water.
This does not sound a problem.
This is a problem. "Teflon was originally created in a laboratory accident, just like many magical chemicals. In 1938, Roy J.
DuPont's chemist, Plunkett, is experimenting with refrigerant, and he has found a white wax material that looks slippery.
It has been proved that this material is an inert carbon-fluorine compound-poly-four-fluorine (four-fluorine) with excellent non-stick performance.
In 1945, the company filed a patent for the chemical and registered under the trademark "Teflon" to promote it as "the smoothest material in existence ".
1948 DuPont produces about 2 million pounds of Teflon each year at its Washington plant in parksburg, West Virginia.
For DuPont, the Teflon used to coat the pan bowl pans basin has proved to be a gold mine, with sales reaching a peak of about a billion dollars per year in 2004, according to the SEC documents submitted by the company.
Starting at about 1951, DuPont started using another lab.
The chemical known as PFOA acid or C8. (so called because it contains eight carbon molecules) to eliminate the block of the newly manufactured Teflon.
This is a very durable chemical that entered the world for the first time in 1947 due to its non-stick and stains
As a "surface active substance", it is very fast to use.
This white powder compound is often considered to look like a damp laundry detergent and will eventually be used in hundreds of products including fast food wrapping paper, waterproof clothing, cables and pizza boxes.
(DuPont used to buy C8 from another chemical company called 3 m until the company was phased out in 2002.
DuPont then started building its own C8. at a factory in Fayettville, North Carolina.
) The trouble is that this compound-which has since been associated with various health risks including cancer, liver disease, developmental problems, and thyroid disease-can easily escape into the air.
In fact, C8. usually shipped to the factory
Mix with water to prevent dust from the worker's lungs.
It is not biodegradable because it is a very stable chemical.
On the contrary, it will accumulate bio, and over time, if people continue to drink water or breathe air containing this substance, it will accumulate in the blood.
Due to its widespread use, this chemical can now be found in the blood of more than 98% of Americans, even in cord blood and breast milk, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
The virus has also been found in the blood of seals, Eagles and dolphins around the world, including animals living in remote wildlife reserves in the central North Pacific.
This chemical is expected to be preserved in the environment for thousands of years.
About 15 years ago, concerns about the harm caused by Teflon and C8. it began to attract public attention.
By 2003, DuPont had dispersed nearly two companies.
From its Washington plant to its 5 million-pound C8.
According to a colleague, the Ohio Valley areareviewed study.
The company's worst disposal practices took place before US environmental laws were first introduced in the 1970 s, including burying toxic waste in barrels along the Ohio River, and put the barrel into the open ocean in the bucket (when a local fisherman dug up a bucket in his fishing net, it once caused a scandal), and, in recent decades, it has been buried in the local
Hazardous landfill sites
Now, the information obtained from millions of pages of company internal reports shows that several of DuPont's scientists and senior employees have been either aware of or at least suspected for years, and that the C8.
However, DuPont continues to use the chemical to put its workers, local residents and the American public at risk.
According to the document, with DuPont expanding the production of Teflon within 1950 s, signs of 88 toxicity began to emerge rapidly.
The company provides funds for its own safety
The testing laboratory-Industrial Toxicology Haskell laboratory-is partly designed to screen for signs of illness that workers may have in relation to DuPont products.
In 1961, the company's laboratory tests showed exposure to expanded liver in rats and rabbits.
DuPont's scientists then tested humans and asked a group of volunteers to smoke, which contained a C8.
"Nine out of the top ten --
The average time of flu in the medication group was 9 hours
"It's like cold, backache, fever and cough," the researchers said . ".
"At least 1954 of people inside DuPont have expressed concern about the potential toxicity of C8. this has led DuPont's own researchers to conclude at least 1961 that the C8, according to DuPont's own section chief of toxicology, it should be handled "with great care", and the suit against DuPont by batlitt on February 2013 was charged.
But it was not until the age of 1970 that DuPont researchers began to understand that in the worker's blood, the C8. began to accumulate, and soon after, they began to see disturbing signs that the chemical could pose a serious threat to health.
It's important: the Washington plant that produces Teflon is one of the largest employers in the region.
The factory has more than 2,000 employees-3,000 if the operator
Contractor-a sparsely populated Appalachian community on the Ohio River, separated from West Virginia and Ohio.
On 1981, after two of the seven pregnant workers had children with birth defects, the company ordered all female employees to leave the Teflon department.
One of the children, Baki Bailey, was born with only one nostrils and other facial abnormalities and requires a lot of painful surgery to repair.
"I never felt normal.
You don't feel normal when you walk outside and everyone looks at you.
In an interview with ABC News in 2003, he said: "This is not the way he is famous or rich . ".
"He looks different.
You can see it in their eyes.
"In 1984, DuPont began secretly collecting local tap water and asked employees to bring in a pot of water from their homes, schools and local businesses, which they found, in public drinking water supplies in Ohio and West Virginia, the C8. is entering at potentially dangerous levels.
The minutes recorded at a meeting held at DuPont headquarters in Delaware that year showed a high degree of attention to how this will affect the company's image and bottom line.
The notes at the meeting wrote: "The legal and medical may take a position of complete elimination . ".
However, the executives of the company present concluded that the existing approach to reducing pollution was "economically unattractive ".
"In the years that followed that meeting, DuPont did not cut its use of C8. instead, it increased production while maintaining most of its knowledge of the dangers of chemicals.
The company's Washington plant continues its usual practice of dumping c8-
Filled with sludge in an unlined landfill, allowing it to enter the Ohio River and discharge the c8-
Its chimney is filled with steam.
If it weren't for a West Virginia ranch by the name of Wilber tenant, he and four of his family members sued DuPont in 1998, he said he lost hundreds of cattle because of landfill pollution next to the farm.
DuPont bought the land from Tennant, in his 1980 s, which included a stream flowing directly into the Ohio River, telling him it would be used as a non-
But soon after the landfill began, the stream began to turn black and smelly.
Sometimes there is a layer of foam on the water.
Within a few years, about 280 of Tennant's cattle who drank water from the creek died.
When Tennants cut a cow to investigate the cause of its death, they found that its internal organs turned into bright neon green, a video clip taken by the ranchers.
Tennant and his family also have breathing difficulties and cancer.
Tennant's lawyer, Robert Bilott, forced DuPont to hand over tens of thousands of pages of internal company documents as part of legal proceedings.
Among these materials, there is a reference to a chemical that Bilot has never heard of before: PFOA (C8 ).
This chemical sounds similar to another chemical called PFOS, which has just been withdrawn from the market by the manufacturer 3 m (if you remember, it has been supplying DuPont for decades.
So Bilott put forward a request to DuPont.
This time he asked the company to hand in all documents related to C8.
"I didn't immediately realize the importance of , but we came," Bilott told Earth Island daily.
"A large number of documents that were ultimately found in subsequent legal proceedings provide evidence of guilt about the company for decades --long cover-up.
In addition to the results of the study, a copy of the internal emails and documents contained in this cache is also particularly instructive.
A 2001 email describes a scientist's warning that when flying in the air, it is difficult for the C8. "this may require the public to wear a gas mask.
The other one is from DuPont.
House lawyer Bernard Reilly said company officials planned to push regulators to allow the public access to higher levels of chemicals than DuPont itself suggested.
Lei Li wrote in an email to his son on October 2001: "DuPont has been talking about safety levels so far and we need an independent agency to agree, we hope it will agree to a higher level than we have always said.
If there is no other reason than we have exceeded the standards we have said we have set ourselves, mainly because no one has bothered to do air monitoring until now, our water test is not enough at all.
"Reilly's personal email was mainly addressed to family members from the end of 1999 to the middle of the year.
2001 using his work email address, an unfiltered understanding of the legal efforts made by the company to cover up the risks of 88.
In an email on August 2000, he wrote: "In WV, this shit is about to hit fans.
Farmers' lawyers are finally aware of the problem of surface active substances.
He threatened to put pressure on the media to embarrass us and ask us to pay for a lot of money. Fuck him.
"This information not only helped the Tennant case-which DuPont closed in 2001 for undisclosed amounts-will eventually become one of the most important cases --
Litigation in the history of environmental law (which eventually led to a landmark ruling in the October Carla batlitt case ).
Sadly, Tennant did not live to see the chain reaction brought about by his lawsuit.
He died of cancer on 2009 at the age of 67.
2001, while the Tennant case is still being dealt with, Bilott began to realize that the c8-pollution was not isolated from Tennant property, but extended to large areas in the middle
The chemical has penetrated into the water supply of at least six public water systems in West Virginia and Ohio.
That year, Bilott filed a class action lawsuit against DuPont, Liqi and others. v E. I.
DuPont De in Moore the company
Represents about 80,000 people in six water areas.
He also reported his findings to the US Environmental Protection Agency and attached a copy of DuPont's internal documents on about 900 pages, after which the agency conducted a "priority review" of the Group of Eight"
In the 2004 incident, the US Environmental Protection Agency also filed a lawsuit against DuPont accusing it of concealing evidence of 88 risks over more than 20 years.
On 2005, the company agreed to pay $16.
5 million as part of a settlement agreement with EPA-the largest civil penalty in the agency's history.
But environmental groups believe the fine is nothing more than a slap in the face of a company in which a department outsells that number a day.
"Under the terms of the settlement, the company is not even obliged to withdraw the c8-… from the market . . . . . . The best thing the agency can negotiate is the voluntary phase --
In its report of 2015, the Environment Working Group of the supervisory organization said that by May 2015, "toxic heritage ".
In the same year, DuPont solved the problem.
Bilott filed a lawsuit for more than $100 million if the settlement-funded study found evidence that people might be ill, plus $0. 235 billion.
Under the settlement agreement, DuPont pledged to install filtration systems in contaminated waters and to invest $70 million in community health and education programs.
In addition, the company has agreed to fund a health study worth millions of dollars supervised by an independent court --
Was appointed as a scientist to determine if exposure to the C8. really hurts people.
In addition, DuPont agrees that if the study does demonstrate that a certain disease is caused by a c8-related disease, those who have a disease associated with the c8-will be entitled to a separate prosecution for personal injury.
It is not clear why DuPont agreed to the independent study.
Perhaps because it is known that most medical monitoring programs fail to attract enough participants, this often makes it almost impossible to make reliable inferences about disease clusters.
But in this case, nearly 80% of communities around West Virginia and Ohio appear in temporary clinics in trailers in the area, drawing blood and filling out a health care questionnaire.
Community members are often drawn to $400 cheques (drawn from DuPont settlement) that are provided to every man, woman, and children involved by a enterprising medical research team.
"We have five families dragging their three kids to kick and scream, and the parents say, 'Yeah, you'll be stuck in your arms-that's $2,000!
A local resident told Huffington Post.
The scientific team of the 8 th, which took seven years to complete the study, eventually linked the 8 th exposure to six diseases: UC; pregnancy-
High blood pressure;
The panel's findings were published in several of its peers.
The review journals are notable because they demonstrate that even at low exposure levels, this chemical has a significant impact on the whole body.
The researchers concluded that C8. posed a threat to health at 0 only.
For those who drink this water a year, drinking water is five in a billion.
They found that a sample of the level of 8 in the blood
Ohio's valley is 83 out of a billion.
Living at the average c8-level of people closest to the factory-their drinking water comes from the small Hocking water area in Ohio-exceeds 224 per billion, while the average for Americans is 4 per billion.
Once the link between the c8-exposure and the disease has been established, more than 3,500 Ohio Valley residents, including Carla Bartlett, have filed personal injury cases against DuPont.
The batlitt case was heard for the first time in September.
The court's judgment in her favor may set the tone for other cases to be heard.
Despite this, there are still many people who believe that the company will continue to work hard to get rid of responsibility.
(For example, at the trial of batlitt, DuPont's lawyer argued that her cancer was caused by her obesity, not under the terms of the class action solution, duPont is not allowed to question the fact that the C8 causes the type of cancer that she suffers from.
) "If that tells you something, I 've been doing it for 16 years," Joe Kegel, the local PE teacher, the chief plaintiff for the initial 2005 class action, told the Wall Street Journal.
"When it all started I don't think it's going to get out of control as it is now, but we keep finding out that DuPont is doing more and what the cover is --
They know very well that these things are poisonous.
"Kiger, who has many kidney and liver problems and has to have surgery after a heart attack in May, is a member of the DuPont community who has followed your promise --
Based on the work of the organization, the company is required to be responsible for its actions.
"Our greatest belief and trust is our utility," he said . ".
"We turn on the light switch and we want it to turn on.
We have no idea about it.
You turn on the tap to get water and you want the water to be clean and there is not all of these chemicals in it.
I think now people are starting to find out that someone is lying to them.
"To understand how the C8 is used for a long time, it is necessary to review the history of US chemical regulation and the role DuPont itself plays in developing these laws.
Since the 1970 s, the pressure to regulate the use of chemicals has increased, almost after
American life in World War II.
Few companies are responsible for expansion as DuPont does, or rely on expansion.
DuPont created Freon in 1930.
Refrigerator and air conditioning market for the first time.
In 1935, a DuPont scientist invented nylon, a synthetic fiber that proved invaluable during World War II.
Cellophane, Mela, Tyvek, artificial silk, Leka-a household name so far-have all been developed by DuPont over the past century.
The company also produces artificial fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides, plastics and paints.
"We are proud to announce that more than 60% of our sales in 1950 came from unknown products, or at least just the curiosity of the laboratory, with 1930 recently, A representative of Dupont told a group of financiers in 1955.
But as thousands of new chemical innovations enter the daily lives of Americans, the pressure to discover the health risks associated with many of them is growing.
One of the first acts of the White House environmental quality committee since its establishment in 1969, is to highlight the need for federal chemical control-a system that allows regulators to figure out which substances may pose a risk to public health before people get sick.
"The council's research shows that,
Priority needs for toxic substance testing and control programs, "the company said in its release of the 1971 report, which called for new chemical rules.
"After the damage is completed, we should not be limited to repairing the damage;
Nor should we continue to allow the whole environment to be used as a laboratory.
"For several years, the Association of manufacturing chemists, an industrial trade organization that sees Dupont as a core member (known today as the US chemical Commission), has managed to stop any attempt to regulate the industry.
However, as more and more chemicals, such as PCBs, asbestos and PVC, begin to be linked to diseases, the need to regulate these chemicals is also increasing.
Many chemical companies foresee the inevitable situation and believe that it is better to participate in the drafting process than to risk banning the use of the notorious pesticide DDT in 1972.
DuPont has a key seat on that drafting desk. Robert C.
Eckhart is a progressive Texas politician from northern Houston, packed with chemical and oil companies, it is often described as the main craftsman of the legislation produced in this drafting process-the toxic substances Administration Act, which is, even today, the main law governing the use of chemicals in the United States.
First-elected Congressman Eckhart in 1966 is known for working on a bike at the Capitol-he tied his legislative files to a whiskey box on his bike-a habit that kept him far ahead of the curve as an environmental activist it was supported by early environmental activists, especially after the energy crisis.
During his career in Washington, which ended in 1980, the Democratic congressman supported civil rights and fought for taxes on oil and gas companies, and help ensure that core environmental regulations such as the Clean Air Act and the super fund Act are passed.
Today's TSCA is a product of the unlikely collaboration between Eckhardt and DuPont in the past.
The early meeting between Eckhart and DuPont was so bad that Eckhart rushed out of the room during a negotiation in March 1976.
But with a draft chemical control bill passed by the Senate, DuPont reluctantly returned to the negotiating table.
One of the biggest sticking points is whether safety testing should be carried out before allowing companies to put new chemicals on the market-an effort that the industry has successfully blocked.
Rena Steinzor, a professor at the University of Maryland Law School and chairman of the Center for Progressive Reform, told the Wall Street Journal: "No mandatory testing is a huge compromise . ".
"Bike Bob" Eckhart's final bill was so full of compromises that some of his early supporters opposed the final version of the bill.
"I mean, it's called [
"Eckhart bill," Steven D.
The first place in the Environmental Protection Bureau, jerineke
Ever, the assistant administrator of toxic substances told the Chemical Heritage Foundation's oral history program that he was referring to Richard heckett, then vice president of DuPont.
Chairman and Chairman of the Association of manufacturing chemists.
"This is written by industry.
"The good intentions of Eckhart may be undermined by his being a member of the Senate Business Committee, not a member of the Environmental and Public Works Committee.
"The Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works is made up of people who believe in the EPA's mission and know it very well," Steinzor said . ".
"The Senate business committee, like its name, is concerned about other issues and knows nothing about toxic chemicals.
"According to the toothless TSCA law written by DuPont help, industrial chemicals-unlike drugs or pesticides-do not need to be tested before they are put on the market.
The law does require EPA to keep an up-to-date list of all chemicals used commercially in the United States, but does not require environmental or human health impact tests on those chemicals.
In addition, TSCA allows manufacturers to claim some information including chemical identity as a trade secret.
Although the law also requires manufacturers to provide EPA with some information needed to assess the safety of new chemicals, about 60,000 chemicals used in TSCA enactment were exempted from this rule.
These chemicals include biphenol A (BPA), formaldehyde, and several flame retardant-all of which have since been found to pose significant risks to human health and the environment.
Today, in the United States, more than 85,000 industrial chemicals are used commercially-about 2,000 new chemicals are introduced annually in the United States-but federal regulators have so far asked a small percentage of them to undergo any safety tests.
On the one hand, you can literally calculate the amount of chemical substances that EPA has banned or widely restricted according to TSCA: asbestos, PCBs, dioxin, fluorine-containing carbon, hexyl chromium (known in the film brokwich ).
This is only 5 chemicals in the past 40 years.
"In many ways, C8 is a poster child for the failure of toxic chemical chemistry in the United States," said Bill Walker, one of the authors of the Environmental Working Group (EWG) C8.
"Between 3 m and DuPont, you have a cover that's getting worse and worse --up.
However, the law is so pointless that neither company is really worried about being caught by the EPA.
"The lack of safety testing helps explain why, back in 1998, when Tennants first contacted Bilott, there was little contact between DuPont and 3 m away, not EPA field inspectors, OSHA chemists, or the National Environmental Testing Laboratory-has heard of the Group of Eight.
The two companies essentially monopolized information related to the chemical.
DuPont has used this monopoly to illegally cover up its own research, which shows that the C8. the worker is sick.
"But for litigation, it is likely that EPA is completely unaware of this chemical and its toxicology features," said Ned McWilliams, another plaintiff's lawyer . ".
"The lawsuit actually blew the whistle of this still unregulated chemical.
DuPont, as expected, plans to appeal the court's decision.
"The knowledge base, environmental footprint and health conditions around  have changed," company spokesman Dan Turner told the Wall Street Journal . ".
"In the same period, the chemical industry and its regulators have also learned a lot about how to operate and reduce emissions more safely and sustainably.
At the same time, the company has spun off Teflon-
Business related to another company called Chemours, which may limit the amount of compensation that the plaintiff can recover.
Over the past few years, DuPont, 3 m and other chemical companies have started marketing-
Free Teflon and recent studies have shown that the level of C8 in the blood of most people is declining.
Unfortunately, new chemicals that have replaced the C8. have also attracted attention.
The EWG's "toxic heritage" report says: "These next-generation PFCs [PFCs] are used for oil-proof food wrappers, waterproof clothing and other products. ".
"Few people have been tested for safety, and most people's names, composition, and health effects are hidden as trade secrets.
"On a positive note, efforts to strengthen TSCA have gained momentum in recent months, the only major environmental law that has not been updated since TSCA was first promulgated.
Congress is about to pass TSCA reform measures this fall.
The House and Senate have introduced separate TSCA reform bills this year, and while the House passed the bill (HR 2576) on June, the Senate has not yet addressed its bill (S 697) the vote is on this story.
The reforms proposed by these bills include accelerating the pace of EPA's chemical assessment and changing the priorities of the agency's safety review of chemicals, revise TSCA's definition of chemicals that may constitute a "unreasonable risk" of harmful exposure.
Nevertheless, critics say these efforts do not reach the level required and there may be a risk of repeating past mistakes.
Scott Faber said: "Neither of these bills provides enough resources to the EPA, to take prompt action in reviewing and regulating the use of chemicals that may cause cancer and other serious health problems the senior deputy secretary-general of the Environment Working Group
The president in charge of government affairs told the Wall Street Journal.
"Neither of these bills removes the legal barriers that prevent EPA from banning chemicals such as asbestos, which we already know is dangerous.
"Faber is also concerned that these reforms may interfere with regulatory laws introduced by state and other local governments to make up for the federal lack of effective supervision of chemicals.
(There are about 172 separate laws regulating chemicals in 35 states in the United States, and 28 states are considering about 100 other similar bills this year.
) In the end, it all boils down to the need for a strong political push that can go beyond the industry's influence and regulate chemicals before they cause harm to C8.
The history of the C8, which is still developing so far, provides many lessons for these battles.