A suspected carcinogen - perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) - used to make Teflon coatings doesn't harm humans, according to a long-term mortality study of 6 000 workers released this week by US chemical maker DuPont Co.
The study found that people who worked at the company's Washington plant in West Virginia from 1948 to 2002 had lower death rates than the general population of West Virginia and the United States, Bloomberg news reported. The plant makes PFOA.
This study "supports a conclusion that there are no human health effects known to be caused by PFOA," Dr Sol Sax, chief medical officer at DuPont, said in a prepared statement. "If health effects were associated with PFOA exposure, they almost certainly would be more prevalent among employees who are occupationally exposed to the compound."
Critics dismissed that conclusion.
"The notion that you are less likely to die if you work around PFOA is really misleading," Richard Wiles, senior vice president at Environmental Working Group, told Bloomberg. "Workers are generally more healthy than the population at large, so they (DuPont) aren't telling us anything we don't already know."
Last year, DuPont agreed to pay $107.6 million to settle claims that PFOA from the Washington Works plant tainted the drinking water of 60 000 people. The company also said it would pay as much as $235 million if DuPont-funded studies concluded that PFOA caused health problems.
Based on findings in animal studies, a US Environmental Protection Agency advisory board has said that PFOA is a likely human carcinogen. The agency is still evaluating the effect that PFOA has on human health, Bloomberg reported. – (HealthDayNews)
The Teflon safety debate
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