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News From USW: "Teflon" Chemical Contamination Confirmed in DuPont Discharge to James River
Thursday July 6, 2:44 pm ET

RICHMOND, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 6, 2006--News From USW: Sierra Club and United Steelworkers (USW) found Teflon-related chemicals in water samples taken from Grendall Creek, which runs through DuPont's Spruance plant to Falling Creek and the James River.

"The most recent discovery of contamination where DuPont did not want to investigate is a clear example of why companies who pollute cannot be trusted to investigate themselves," says Joshua Low, Conservation Organizer for the Sierra Club. "DuPont's investigation plan did not call for PFOA testing of the Grendall Creek even though DuPont knew it received drainage from the plant."

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) asked DuPont to investigate contamination of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) after environmental and labor groups publicized their concerns. The groups have called DuPont's May 15 "PFOA Investigation Plan" inadequate and "designed to delay."

In March, Sierra Club and USW found contamination in discharge from the plant into another part of the James River for which DuPont does not have a permit.

DuPont claims that groundwater monitoring for PFOA is unnecessary even though in 1991 the company wrote in a confidential document that PFOA is a "present environmental concern."

Representatives of the Sierra Club, ARWI and the USW have requested a meeting with the VDEQ to detail their objections to DuPont's proposed PFOA investigation.

"DuPont's plan ignores several areas PFOA may have escaped and does not test for all the other types of PFCs," said Jay Palmore, president of the Amphill Rayon Workers International Union (ARWI). "We are concerned that employees and the community may have been unknowingly exposed and will continue to be if DuPont is allowed to investigate itself."

Source: United Steelworkers

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