DuPont's Teflon Cover-up

EPA Steps In - Pg 3 of 3

By Roberta C. Barbalace

[Mar. 22, 2006]

Back: The Teflon cover-up begins

EPA Steps In

EPA has been conducting studies on C-8 or PFOA and have found that this man-made chemical (that is not found in nature) is present in just about every living or previously living thing in the industrialized world. In August of 2005 an independent EPA scientific advisory board concluded that PFOA is a likely human carcinogen and recommended that the EPA conduct cancer risk assessments for a variety of tumors that have been observed in rats and mice that were exposed to the chemical.

In December 2005 the EPA stated that DuPont had violated both the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) for allegedly failing to file notification about the potential health and environmental risks posed by perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA (C-8). In the largest settlement ever made involving a civil administrative federal environmental statute in the history of EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that DuPont agreed to pay $10.25 million in fines and $6.25 million to fund environmental projects to settle allegations that the company withheld information about the dangers of the toxic chemical PFOA.(1)

In addition, DuPont has already agreed to pay up to $343 million in settlement of a class action arising from the contamination of drinking water in Ohio and West Virginia from its plant near Parkersburg, West Virginia. DuPont will also set aside up to another $235 million for future medical monitoring if the studies find C-8 can make people sick.(1)

Had it not been for the diligence of a "whistle blowing" employee at DuPont, the case might still have been unexposed. This makes one wonder it there are lots of other "C-8s" out there, different chemicals, created by companies other than DuPont, with dubious records, filed away in dusty research files marked "Personal and Confidential."

Compounds associated with Teflon

Major Compounds associated with Teflon Production (2)

  • APFO: Ammonium perfluorooctanoate (C8)
  • PFOA: Perfluorooctanoic acid (also dubbed C8)- Associated with APFO (a synthesizing aid in synthesis of fluoropolymers) (3)
  • PTFE: Polytetrafluoroethylene - Original Teflon
  • FEP: Resin introduced in 1960
  • ETFE: Tefzel® introduced 1970
  • PFA: Resin introduced in 1972

Linked to Cancer

  • PFOA: Perfluorooctanoic acid Compound resulting from offgasing of Teflon compounds (has been shown to be transferred from mother to fetus) persistent in environment and found in blood
  • TFE: Compound resulting from offgasing of Teflon compounds

Linked to global warning

  • PFB likely never breaks down in environment
  • CF4: Carbontetrafluoride

Chemical warfare agents

  • PFIB: Perfluoroisobutene
  • MFA: Monofluoroacetic acid
  • COF2: Chemical analog of WWII nerve gas phosgene

Probably never break down in the environment

  • TFA: trifluoroacetetic acid
  • PFOA: Perfluorooctanoic acid (4)
  • CF4: Carbontetrafluoride
  • PFB: Perfluorobutane
  • Perfluorinated particulate alkanes

Highly Toxic relative to other industrial chemicals

  • PFIB: Perfluoroisobutene
  • MFA: Monofluoroacetic acid
  • COF2: carbonyl fluoride
  • HF: Hydrogen fluoride

Found in blood

  • PHOa: Perfluorooctanoic acid - used in processing Teflon (5)
  • PHOs: perfluorooctane sulfonate
  • PFOS: Perfluorooctanyl sulfonate - Active ingredient in Scotch Guard

Offgasses of heated Teflon

  • TFE: Tetrafluoroethylene
  • HFP: Hexafluoropropene
  • OFCB: Octafluorocyclobutane
  • PFIB: Perfluoroisobutane
  • COF2: Carbonyl fluoride
  • CF4: Carbon tetrafluoride
  • TFA: Trifluoroacetic acid
  • CF3COF: Trifluoroacetic acid fluoride
  • PFB: Perfluorobutane
  • SiF4: Silicon tetrafluoride
  • HF: Hydrofluoric acid

Temperature Versus Teflon offgas/breakdown and effects (2)

464°F - Lowest temperature that Teflon particles have been measured
500°F - Searing temperature for meat
536°F - Birds killed in DuPont lab experiments
554°F - Oxidized Teflon particles released
680°F - Toxic gases released
  • TFE - Animal carcinogen
  • HFP - Worker Toxicant
  • TFA - Poisonous to plants
  • DFA - Animal kidney toxicant
  • MFA - Lethal to humans at low doses
  • PFOA - Animal carcinogen
700°F - Preheated grill
750°F - Surface Temperature of PTFE coated pan after heating for 8 minutes on conventional stove
800°F - Electric coil on range top
878°F - Silica tetrafluoride released - Highly toxic by inhalation and ingestion
887°F - PFIB - Chemical warfare agent
932°F - Carbonyl fluoride - Fluorinated version of chemical warfare agent
1,000°F - Drip Pans in stove top burner gas flame on top
1112°F - Trifluoroacetic acid fluoride - degrades to HF and TFA, OFCB Linked to Heart palpations, PFB - Global warming gas
1,202°F Carbon tetrafluoride - contributes to glogal warming and affects heart, lungs, breathing
1,500°F - Broiling temperature for high end ovens


Footnotes are below

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Related Articles


  1. Steven DiJoseph; EPA Scientific Advisory Board Unanimously Approves Recommendation Labeling PFOA a 'Likely Carcinogen' Date Published: Friday, February 17th, 2006
  2. Canaries in the Kitchen - Teflon offgas studies; Environmental Working Group;
  3. EPA Files New Claim Alleging DuPont Withheld PFOA Information; EPA Newsroom; Release date: 12/06/2004
  4. Dutton, Geoff; West Virginia Ruling Judge: DuPont Chemical Is Toxic The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio); May 8, 2003
  5. Morris, Jim; Did 3M and DuPont ignore evidence of health risks?; Mother Jones; Sept. - Oct. 2001.

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