Company Reiterates No Human Health Effects, Consumer Products are Safe
DuPont today said that it disputes the cancer classification recommended in the Science Advisory Board (SAB) draft report because it is based on laboratory studies in rats, and does not adequately reflect human health data that show no health effects. The SAB panel members did not agree among themselves that PFOA should be classified as a "likely" carcinogen.
The company supports the position of those panel members who agreed with EPA's current draft risk assessment that states PFOA should be classified as a "suggestive" carcinogen. Rigorous, peer-reviewed studies have shown no known human health effects associated with PFOA.
"The weight of evidence indicates that PFOA exposure does not pose a health risk to the general public," said Dr. Robert Rickard, DuPont director - Health and Environmental Sciences. "In over 50 years of working with PFOA, there is no association of cancer in workers who handle or use PFOA."
In a letter dated Jan. 25, 2006, to DuPont from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, said "…to date EPA is not aware of any studies specifically relating current levels of PFOA exposure to human health effects." Further, in a news briefing held on Dec. 14, 2005, Susan Hazen, acting administrator of the EPA Office of Prevention, Pesticides and Toxic Substances, said, "The agency has information based on animal studies and toxic effects in animals, [but] we have no information at this point that would lead us to believe there is a significant human health impact."
"PFOA induces benign tumors in male rats, but only at high doses and by a mechanism that is not likely relevant to humans," said Dr. Samuel M. Cohen, chairperson of the Department of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. "Thus, we can be confident that PFOA does not pose a cancer risk to humans at the low levels found in the general population."
The company agrees with the SAB that the Agency should continue to work to strengthen its risk assessment by incorporating additional data as it becomes available. Also, the company will work with the Agency to integrate the SAB findings with the additional human health data on cancer that were not available during the SAB deliberations.
Products made with or using DuPont materials are safe. Recent peer-reviewed scientific studies, including published research by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, have confirmed that trace levels of PFOA in consumer products pose no risk to consumers. Further, the margins of safety for all products tested in the DuPont study dramatically exceeded the levels of protection typically used by regulatory agencies to judge the safety of chemicals.
"Consumers want to know whether they are at risk," Dr. Rickard said. "Since there is no significant potential for exposure to PFOA from using these products and no known human health effects, there is no risk to consumers." He noted that with respect to PFOA, the EPA has said: "it does not believe there is any reason for consumers to stop using any consumer or industrial related products."
Last week, EPA announced a global industrywide PFOA stewardship program to essentially eliminate the potential for exposure to PFOA. DuPont's aggressive commitment to the program will result in the greater than 95 percent reduction by 2010 in our products and processes with more reductions to follow. In addition, DuPont has already reduced PFOA emissions from U.S. plant sites by 96 percent and has offered to share this new technology with other companies. To date, DuPont is the only company to commit to the program.
DuPont is a science company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture, nutrition, electronics, communications, safety and protection, home and construction, transportation and apparel.