Can Nonstick Make You Sick?

ByABC News
November 13, 2003, 5:22 PM

Nov. 14, 2003 -- -- For Bucky Bailey's parents, the 22-year-old's wedding day in August of this year was one they feared might never come, given how their son started life. Bucky was born in January of 1981 with only one nostril and a deformed right eye.

"The doctors told us not to get attached to him because he probably wouldn't make it through the night," Sue Bailey, Bucky's mother, told "20/20." "They didn't know what to say. I mean, they had never seen a baby like this before. I cried so many tears I couldn't cry another tear."

Today, two decades later, scarred from more than 30 surgeries, Bucky is coming forward and telling "20/20" he wants to know who or what is responsible for a life that has not been easy.

"I've never, ever felt normal. You can't feel normal when you walk outside and every single person looks at you. And it's not that look of 'he's famous' or 'he's rich,' " Bucky said. "It's that look of 'he's different.' You can see it in their eyes."

The Bailey family and others lay the blame at the place where Sue worked when she became pregnant with Bucky the huge DuPont plant in Parkersburg, W.Va., where workers mix the chemicals for Teflon, the famed nonstick substance used on pots and pans.

Teflon, a product advertised as making life easy, is also used in a different form to keep stains off carpets and clothing. DuPont calls these products the housewives' best friend.

Teflon and the chemicals used in its production have grown into a $2 billion-a-year industry. This includes ammonium perfluorooctanoate, known as C-8, which has been linked to cancer, organ damage and other health effects in tests on laboratory animals.