is discovered serendipitously by
DuPont chemist, Roy
Plunkett, who finds that a tank of gaseous tetrafluoroethylene
(C2F4) had polymerized to a white powder.
an essential ingredient in the making of stick-resistant Teflon, which is used
in cook-ware, clothing, bedding and an array of other household products.
PFOA was present in the blood of nearly all the 1,500 people tested in
the US, including young children.
Perfluorooctanoic acid is transferred
to fetuses in the womb.
Animal tests have shown that high doses of the PFOA causes liver
cancer, immune suppression and
PFOA exposure may increase cholesterol and
triglyceride levels in people.
Toxicologists have reported that levels
found in some children are as high as those found in chemical plant workers and
approach those that caused developmental problems in rats.
persists in the environment indefinitly and has been found in the blood of
DuPont has developed
applications for Teflon in commercial bread and
cookie-making; however the incorporation avoides the market for consumer
cookware due to potential problems associated with release of toxic gases if
stove-top pans are overheated in inadequately ventilated spaces.
pyrolysis of PTFE, detectable at 200 °C (392 °F), evolves several
fluorocarbon gases and a sublimate.
A study documented birds having
been killed by these decomposition products at 202 °C (396 °F), with
unconfirmed reports of bird deaths as a result of non-stick cookware heated to
as little as 163 °C (325 °F). Meat is usually fried between 204 and 232
°C (399 and 450 °F).
When pans are overheated beyond
approximately 350 °C (660 °F) the PTFE coating begins to dissociate,
releasing byproducts (PFOA) which can cause polymer fume fever in humans and can be lethal
1981 DuPont internal memos indicated
that DuPont is aware of a study conducted by 3M that showed PFOA was harmful to
newborn rats, killing some and causing some to be born with eye and face
DuPont moves female employees out of PFOA areas at the plant
and tells them to consult physicians before getting pregnant but does not sound an
2002 Pertluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA,
poses a "substantial risk of injury to human health or the
including a risk of birth defects.
Most of the research is conducted by scientists for 3M incorporation,
which was the main manufacturer of PFOA until , when it voluntarily stopped
3M incorporation also removes its Scotchgard products from
the market because they contained a related
DuPont is the
only US manufacturer of perfluorooctanoic acid. Seven other companies,
3M/Dynean, a unit of 3M, French incorporation Arkema, Japan's AGC
Chemical/Asahi Glass, Switzerland's Ciba Specialty Chemicals Holding &
Clariant, Japan's Daikin Industries and Italy's Solvay Solexis use PFOA in
other products such as textiles, automobile fuel systems, computer chips,
telecommunications equipment, electronic wiring, fire fighting foams and
These 8 companies use 75% of the PFOA - China uses
DuPont proposes a settlement
with as many as 60,000 residents of Ohio and West Virginia of six area water
districts with ground water contamination with PFOA which the incorporation has
used to manufacture Teflon and other products since 1951.
2005 Minnesota residents claimed 3M discharged PFOA and
PFOS, perfluorooctanoic sulfonate, in Washington County contaminating ground
and well water.
The former medical director of DuPont reveals that more
than 20 years ago the corporation became aware of
birth defects in 2 of 8 children born
to women who worked at one of their facilities manufacturing Teflon.
defects occur in the general public at a rate of 2 in every 1,000 births.
Perfluorooctanoic acid can leach into food from packaging.
is still used to coat food
packaging to keep oils from bleeding into the packaging. Some researchers
contend that the chemical can leach into french fries from the small bags used
typically by fast food chains.
Perfluorooctanoic acid can also leach
onto popcorn as the microwavable packaging is coated with a teflon-like
Perfluorooctanoic acid is also used to coat
pizza delivery boxes.
When heated perfluorooctanoic acid can be released from the
which continues to manufacture polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) resin or Teflon,
reached a $16.5 million settlement with the EPA to settle allegations the
incorporation hid information about the
of a toxic chemical known as
PFOA used in the manufacture of Teflon.
up important information about PFOA's health effects and
about the pollution of water supplies near the incorporation's Washington Works
plant for 20 years.
Teflon is used as an inert in pesticide formulations
applied to growing crops or to raw agricultural commodities after
People with the higher PFOA levels were more than twice as
likely to have thyroid diseases.
Roy J. PLUNKETT, Wilmington, Del., assignor to Kinetic
Chemicals Inc.: "Tetrafluoroethylene Polymers"; US Patent 2,230,654; filed July
1, 1939; granted Feb. 4, 1941; French Patent (FR) 917,431; filed Nov. 14, 1945;
granted Jan. 7, 1947 (Kinetic Chemicals Inc. is a subsidiary of E. I. Du Pont
de Nemours, Wilmington, Delaware)
1995 Michael J. McCREERY, Xenia, Ohio,
assignor to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the
Army: "Topical skin protectants", US Patent 5,607,979; filed May 30, 1995;
granted March 4, 1997
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