||Feasibility of Phasing Out PFOA
RESOLVED: The shareholders of E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company (“DuPont”) urge the Board of Directors to issue a report on PFOA compounds used in DuPont products by the 2008 annual meeting, at reasonable cost and excluding confidential information, evaluating the feasibility of an expeditious phaseout of the use of PFOA in the production of all DuPont products, including materials that may degrade to PFOA in use or in the environment, and the development and adoption of safer substitutes.
DuPont is experiencing liabilities, and regulatory and marketplace risks, due to potential health and environmental consequences of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a chemical processing aid used in the production of Teflon and other products. PFOA does not break down in the environment and is believed to be present in the blood of more than 90% of Americans. PFOA has been detected in household dust in consumers’ homes in several states, and in water near DuPont facilities in Parkersburg, WV, Richmond, VA, Fayetteville, NC and Circleville, OH.
Although the company asserts in shareholder reports that it believes PFOA does not harm human health, regulators are contemplating restrictions on PFOA due to findings regarding PFOA’s potential role in birth defects, and liver, testicular, and pancreatic cancer, among numerous other concerns.
PFOA and related compounds are under review for potential regulatory restrictions or bans in Canada, Australia and Europe.
Health concerns are also causing retailers, manufacturers and consumers to demand products that are not based on PFOA chemistry. 3M—the original supplier of PFOA—stopped producing PFOA due to environmental concerns. In 2006, it announced the relaunch of Scotchgard stain repellants, no longer based on perfluorinated compound chemistry. Air Products, another DuPont competitor, has also begun promoting non-PFOA emulsions and surfactants as alternatives to DuPont’s fluorochemicals.
Major retailers including McDonald’s, H&M, and Wal-Mart have announced their intent to use alternatives to PFOA-based products. Conagra has announced that it will study replacements for PFOA–based food packaging.
Although DuPont has entered an agreement with the USEPA to reduce emissions of PFOA from DuPont facilities and products, it has not committed, on any timeline, to eliminate the use or production of PFOA.
A class action lawsuit seeking $5 billion in damages has been filed against our company, alleging the management’s failure to disclose known health risks of Teflon to consumers, including alleged emissions of PFOA from Teflon products.
DuPont received a subpoena from the US Justice Department in May 2005 regarding alleged criminal withholding of information on risks of PFOA, and also entered a $16.5 million settlement of civil charges by EPA asserting that the management unlawfully withheld information from EPA including the presence of PFOA in blood samples of pregnant DuPont employees, and PFOA contamination in local drinking water near the Parkersburg, WV facility, above the company’s community exposure guidelines.
To defend share value against the marketplace, regulatory and liability risks associated with PFOA, proponents urge a yes vote on this resolution.