DuPont won't face criminal charges over Teflon reporting

WILMINGTON, Del. -- DuPont said Monday that it has learned it will not be facing criminal charges arising from allegations that the company hid information about a toxic chemical used to make the non-stick coating Teflon.

DuPont said in a release that it was informed Friday that the Justice Department had finished its review of information obtained in a May 2005 grand jury subpoena from the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The subpoena called on the company to provide information, including documents it previously gave to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is investigating the potential health risks of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, also known as C-8.

"Their decision supports our position that DuPont acted responsibly in this matter. Consistent with our core values, DuPont remains committed to operate to the highest standards of ethical behavior and environmental responsibility," Stacey J. Mobley, DuPont senior vice president and general counsel, said in a statement released Monday.

Andrew Ames, a spokesman for the Justice Department, confirmed Monday that the review was completed and criminal charges would not be pursued.

The chemical giant agreed in December 2005 to pay $10.5 million in fines and $6.25 million for environmental projects to settle the EPA's allegations that the company violated the Toxic Substances Control Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act by withholding information about the potential health risks posed by perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA and about the pollution of water supplies around the company's Washington Works plant near Parkersburg, W.Va.

The 2005 settlement resolved EPA's primary complaint over failure to report information about transplacental movement of PFOA, as well as seven other counts. Those additional counts involve failure to report information concerning contamination of drinking water, EPA requests for toxicity data, elevated blood levels of PFOA in people living near the Washington Works plant, and toxicity data from rat inhalation studies.

Meanwhile, the EPA is continuing its PFOA risk assessment.

In January 2006, an independent scientific review panel advising the EPA released a draft report that concludes C-8 should be considered a "likely" carcinogen.

The recommendation is consistent with the panel's preliminary finding, which went beyond the EPA's own determination that there was only "suggestive evidence" from animal studies that perfluorooctanoic acid and its salts are potential human carcinogens.

Also that month, the EPA invited DuPont and other chemical companies to join a global effort to eliminate using the chemical to manufacture of Teflon and other non-stick and stain-resistant products.

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