Virginia: Chemical found in river near DuPont

John Reid Blackwell, Richmond Times-Dispatch, November 3, 2006
DuPont Co. said today that tests of water samples from the James River and two creeks around the company’s Chesterfield County plant showed “low levels” of the controversial chemical PFOA.
The company collected water samples for testing after an environmental group and a union representing DuPont workers raised concerns this year about DuPont’s use of the chemical and claimed to have found traces of it in the James River and private wells near the plant.
PFOA is present in the manufacturing process for Teflon, a common ingredient in non-stick cookware and all-weather clothing. Teflon was manufactured at DuPont’s Spruance plant for decades, but the company said that operation was discontinued several years ago. PFOA has been found in the blood of some workers at the Chesterfield County plant and other Dupont sites.
In a statement released today, Dupont said its own tests showed PFOA levels at less than 1 part per billion in the James River, Grindall Creek and Falling Creek. Those levels, the company said, “are consistent with general environmental background levels found in places around the world,” and “below any current regulatory guidance for drinking water.”
The company said PFOA was found in groundwater on the plant site at levels lower than 7.5 parts per billion in areas of manufacturing, wastewater processing, and waste disposal.
The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating PFOA and has not determined what levels should be considered safe in water. The agency has said consumers are not at risk from using Teflon products.

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