Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bush administration enacting last-minute rule on toxic Teflon constituent; not enough, groups say

"Less than a week before leaving office, the Bush administration is preparing to issue an emergency health advisory for drinking water polluted with the toxic chemical C8," reports Ken Ward Jr. of The Charleston Gazette. The proposed federal standard, while stronger than the one currently in place, is 10 times weaker than a standard put in place in New Jersey.

"C8 is another name for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, or PFOA," writes Ward. "DuPont Co. has used the chemical since the 1950s at its Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg. C8 is a processing agent used to make Teflon and other nonstick products, oil-resistant paper packaging and stain-resistant textiles." There is growing evidence that even low levels of C8 and other PFC's in the blood stream can pose health risks.

According to a draft of the Environmental Protection Agency advisory obtained by Ward, EPA "plans to recommend reducing consumption of water that contains more than 0.4 parts per billion of C8," he writes. Environmental and health advocacy groups say that is too high a threshold. "This is nothing more than a last-minute bailout by the Bush administration for PFOA polluters that would legalize dangerous levels of Teflon pollution in the tap water of millions of Americans," said Richard Wiles, director of the Environmental Working Group, which has followed the issue closely. (Read more)

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