E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company PFOA Settlements
On December 14, 2005, EPA forwarded to the Environmental Appeals Board (Board) a settlement with E.I du Pont de Nemours and Company (DuPont) for the largest civil administrative penalty EPA has ever obtained under any federal environmental statute. The settlement resolves DuPont's violations related to the synthetic chemical perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which includes the four violations alleged in the Agency's two complaints filed against DuPont in July and December 2004,) and settles four additional counts involving information about PFOA that EPA obtained after initiating its action against DuPont. The settlement package requires DuPont to pay $10.25 million in civil penalties and perform Supplemental Environmental Projects worth $6.25 million.
TSCA/RCRA Settlement Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs)
Fluorotelomer-based Product Biodegradation Testing SEP
The Biodegradation SEP will investigate the biodegradation potential of certain chemicals to breakdown to form PFOA. The SEP, valued at $5 million and to be completed in 3 years, will evaluate nine of DuPont's commercial fluorotelomer-based products in commerce prior to the settlement. Using two types of biodegradation studies, the SEP will help the public to better understand the inherent degradation potential of fluorotelomer-based products to form PFOA and the behavior of such products when released to the environment. DuPont will use independent laboratories to perform all work associated with the Biodegradation SEP and will hire an independent third party to serve as a Panel Administrator for a Peer Consultation Panel. The Peer Consultation Panel will address specific charges related to the biodegradation studies. The public will have the opportunity to nominate Peer Consultation Panel members. DuPont has agreed to require the laboratories it contracts with to follow the Agency's Good Laboratory Practices regulations as well as prepare and follow a Quality Assurance Project Plan.
DuPont and EPA agreed to amend the Biodegradation SEP after initial testing proved more difficult than anticipated. The amendment extended the timeframe for additional testing through 2013 to allow time to develop methods for analysis. After multiple attempts to characterize the chemicals by the independent lab and after review of the work by the Peer Consultation panel, the EPA and DuPont jointly agreed to modify the SEP to have the remaining funds ($1.5 million) be applied to PFOA related research by universities. On December 13, 2013, a consent order required DuPont to use the remaining SEP funds to purchase analytical instruments for two universities approved by EPA. The equipment is intended to be used for research on the presence of perfluorinated compounds in people or the environment, or research on how these chemicals react in the environment.
Microscale Chemistry and Green Chemistry SEP
DuPont will spend $1.25 million to implement over an expected 3 year period the Microscale and Green Chemistry SEP, a SEP that will foster curriculum change in 7 schools in Wood County to reduce risk posed by chemicals using microscale chemistry, which reduces exposure to chemicals, and green chemistry, an approach that uses safer chemicals. The goals of this SEP include reducing the adverse impact to public health by minimizing the potential exposure to chemicals in schools, avoiding subsequent disposal issues for these materials, and enhancing science safety in all of the schools involved in the SEP. This SEP will involve close coordination with teachers and administrators in the participating schools.
In 2002, EPA entered into an emergency administrative order under the Safe Drinking Water Act on consent agreement with DuPont in which DuPont agreed to provide alternative drinking water or treatment for public or private water users living near the Washington Works facility in Washington, West Virginia if the level of PFOA detected in their drinking water was greater than the PFOA screening level established by a C-8 Assessment of Toxicity team, which was formed pursuant to a state order and established the screening level for PFOA at 150 parts per billion (ppb).
In 2006, after science on health effects of PFOA evolved, we entered into a second emergency administrative order that replaced the 2002 order and established a site-specific action level equal to or greater than 0.50 ppb.
In 2009, after our scientists established a provisional health advisory for PFOA of 400 parts per trillion or 0.40 ppb to address short-term exposure to PFOA, we entered into a third emergency administrative order with DuPont that replaced the 2006 order and lowered the allowable concentration of PFOA in drinking water from 0.50 ppb to 0.40 ppb in communities near the facility. The provisional health advisory for PFOA was based on available evidence at that time.
Each of the SDWA orders were based on site-specific information, including information gathered as part of the TSCA/RCRA settlement, that warranted action by EPA at the time.
For additional information, contact:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
1200 Pennsylvania Ave., N.W.
Washington, DC 20460-0001
For additional information on the SDWA settlement, contact:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
77 W. Jackson Blvd.
Chicago, IL 60604