||Feasibility of Phasing Out PFOA
||Omitted, per SEC
Resolved:The shareholders urge the Board of Directors to issue a report on PFOA compounds used in DuPont products by the 2009 annual meeting, at reasonable cost and excluding confidential information, evaluating the feasibility of rapid phaseout of PFOA from all DuPont products, including materials that can degrade to PFOA in use or in the environment, and the development and adoption of safer substitutes.
Supporting Statement: DuPont is experiencing liabilities, and regulatory and marketplace risks, from 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.
This issue is far reaching for our company. For instance, Zonyl® is a brand name for DuPont fluorotelomer products used in an array of applications, including stain and grease repellants for food packaging and carpet. Although these products may contain little or no PFOA as sold, a recent animal test found that the materials used in Zonyl can break down in the body to form PFOA. Although the management says it is reducing the use of PFOA, the company has not committed to eliminate fluorotelomers on any timetable.
Public health concerns on PFOA are escalating. The chemical 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. A recent study by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that exposure to even low doses of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) in the womb is associated with lower weight and head circumference at birth. Regulators are contemplating restrictions on PFOA.
DuPont management asserted that studies it has funded showed no harm to human health from PFOA exposures, but its own Epidemiology Review Board adamantly disagreed with this conclusion, and sent emails to DuPont lambasting the management’s “no health effects” characterization.
Retailers, manufacturers and consumers are demanding non-PFOA products. 3M—the original supplier of PFOA—stopped producing PFOA due to environmental concerns, and has recently reformulated Scotchgard stain repellants to no longer include perfluorinated compounds. Air Products, another DuPont competitor, is also promoting non-PFOA emulsions and surfactants. In 2007, GreenPan introduced a new line of nonstick, non-PFOA cookware. Retailers including McDonald’s, H&M, and Wal-Mart have announced their intent to use alternatives to PFOA-based products. Conagra announced that it will study replacements for PFOA–based food packaging.
A class action lawsuit seeking $5 billion in damages has been filed against DuPont, alleging the management’s failure to disclose known health risks of Teflon to consumers, including alleged emissions of PFOA from Teflon products.
DuPont entered a $16.5 million settlement of civil charges by EPA that asserted management had unlawfully withheld information concerning blood PFOA levels in pregnant DuPont employees and contamination of drinking water by PFOA near the Parkersburg, WV facility.