Teflon Claim Attorneys
Teflon® is a DuPont registered brand name which is found in thousands of far ranging products from cookware to clothing to carpeting to takeout containers to nail polish remover to computer chips to aircraft.
Teflon® was invented by DuPont in the 1930’s. Today it is used primarily as a non-stick coating for pots and pans, although it has significant industrial applications as well. Because of its non-stick, stain resistant, water repellent and fire retarding properties, Teflon turns up in household items such as clothing, bedding, carpeting, upholstered furniture, house paint, computers and non-stick irons. Even microwave food containers, take-away pizza boxes and candy bar wrappers contain Teflon.
One of the components of Teflon® is the man-made chemical perfluorooctanoic acid--also referred to as PFOA or C8--which has been linked to serious health problems.
DuPont is the sole producer of PFOA in North America. In addition to using PFOA in Teflon and some of its other products, it also sells the chemical to other companies which use it in their own non-stick, stain-resistant merchandise. Unfortunately, PFOA poses real medical concerns. In addition to being toxic, it is also persistent and accumulative. This means that rather than passing quickly through the body or breaking down in the environment, it instead remains in tact and begins to accumulate.
The buildup of PFOAs around the globe is evident. Studies reveal that it is found in newborn infants, marine organisms and animal wildlife -- none of whom had prior exposure to Teflon, or similar products containing PFOA.
In 2006, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advisory panel unanimously recommended that PFOAs should be considered cancer causing. While no definitive link between using Teflon products -- such as non-stick pots and pans -- and cancer was drawn, it did say there is growing evidence that PFOA is a carcinogen.
Leaked DuPont documents prove that the company hid damaging studies, including a 1967 test which showed that Zonyl breaks down to PFOA in the human body and that rats and dogs fed Zonyl ended up with anemia as well as damage to their kidneys and livers. (Zonyl is the grease-resistant packaging used to line microwave popcorn bags, candy wrappers, pizza boxes and hundreds of other food containers.)
While there is still debate about the toxicity of Teflon at normal temperatures, it has been established that at high heat, it emits a toxic gas. This is important because of Teflon cookware as well as Teflon fluoropolymer resins used for high temperature industrial applications.
Early in 2006, the EPA reached a voluntary agreement with DuPont and six other chemical companies to eliminate 95 percent of PFOA released into the environment by the year 2010. DuPont and the other companies will continue to use the chemical PFOA, but they will ensure that it is not released from their products or from manufacturing plants.
How To Protect Yourself Against PFOA
It’s very difficult to protect yourself against all PFOAs because the long-lasting chemical continues to accumulate in the environment -- and in our bodies.
PFOA is present in almost every single person’s blood in this country and beyond; it is even found in remote wildlife and newborns. Scientists have little understanding at this point how it ends up where it does.
PFOA is such a persistent chemical that according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it takes our bodies four (4) years to pass it. A toxicologist with the Environmental Working Group, however, claims that the real number of years to cleanse ourselves of PFOA -- providing we are not exposed to more in the interim -- is actually far higher, taking as long as 20 years.
Simple and immediate things to do if you are concerned about additional PFOA exposure are: avoid home delivery pizza, microwave popcorn in bags, candy in foil wrappers and food in take-out containers -- plus don’t use or wear anything made with Gor-Tex, use fingernail polish removers or iron with non-stick irons.
Whenever possible avoid Teflon pots and pans -- opting for stainless steel or iron cookware instead. Also read labels on carpeting, bedding, stain resistant rug and upholstery cleaners to see if they contain Teflon.
PFOA appears to work its way into the environment during the manufacturing process. Studies of people who work with PFOA show that they have much higher levels of it in their blood than other people.
Persons who live near DuPont plants which manufacture products containing PFOA also show higher amounts of the chemical in their bodies. But incredibly, even people who live far from DuPont industrial sites still have PFOA in their blood. How this happens, and what it means for our health, is still a mystery.
Researchers don’t know what the long term medical outcome is for humans who are exposed to high rates of PFOA. However, data from animal studies shows that PFOA exposure causes cancer, liver damage, growth defects, immune system damage and death in lab rats and monkeys.
Who Can Sue
If you regularly use Teflon® products, you should contact an experienced attorney familiar with class action suits to see if you are eligible for a settlement check.
If you or a loved one has experienced any unusual medical symptoms that might be related to PFOA exposure though Teflon®, you should first seek immediate medical attention before contacting a product liability attorney
In the event that you used cooking products containing Teflon®, or are concerned that you and your family have been exposed to PFOA because of your proximity to a DuPont manufacturing plant, you may wish to consult an attorney who is knowledgeable about class actions and product liability law. Only an experienced attorney can evaluate your case and discuss your options. You need to protect your right to a legal remedy for any injuries which you believe were caused by Teflon® or PFOA exposure.
DuPont has denied Teflon causes cancer, pointing to its long track record of producing safe and non-harmful products. The chemical company has vowed to vigorously defend itself in court from all lawsuits.
A large Class Action lawsuit filed in Des Moines, Iowa, in May, 2006 -- with as many as 10-million plaintiffs from more than 20 states -- charges that DuPont Co. failed to disclose the potential health dangers when using its Teflon-coated cookware.
Class Action plaintiffs want DuPont Corporation to spend $5 Billion Dollars to replace millions of consumer’s cookware, pots and pans, and other consumer items, and to issue future Teflon health warnings. The plaintiffs also want a monetary class action settlement fund to be created for medical monitoring and screening of consumers who purchased Teflon products.
Congresswoman Pat Schroeder (D) is responsible for coining the phrase the ‘Teflon President.’ Schroeder claimed she was scrambling eggs one morning, in 1984, when she came up with the non-stick Teflon frying pan analogy as a way to describe Republican president Ronald Reagan’s politics. The metaphor became an instant hit, and suddenly Teflon was the go-to word for describing someone who can’t seem to get stuck with anything bad, for example, “Teflon Tony” Blair and “Teflon Don” John Gotti.
A 2006 report in the journal Toxicological Sciences found alleged links between PFOA and problems in animal health, development and reproduction. Researchers found evidence that PFOA may disrupt important reproductive tissues in pregnant and unborn female mice.
In 2007, researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health tested the umbilical cords of 300 newborn babies, and found that 99% of them were born with trace amounts of PFOA. The scientists are continuing to study whether or not the toxic chemical interferes with thyroid glands and hormone levels.
A 1999 – 2000 report issued by the Environmental Health arm of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) showed that 90% of Americans had PFOA in the bloodstream; more men than women were found to have PFOA; Mexican Americans had the least, with non-Hispanic blacks and whites showing higher amounts; those with more education were more likely to have higher PFOA levels.
In 2002, Burger King stopped using fluorotelomer coated boxes, to lower their customers’ PFOA health risks.
PFOA has also been associated with increases in prostate cancer in DuPont plant workers. In 1981, 2 out of 7 women working at a DuPont Teflon plant in West Virginia gave birth to babies with birth defects.PFOA has been found in dolphins off the Florida Coast as well as Arctic polar bears in the North Pole. The nonprofit watchdog organization Environmental Working Group (EWG) calls PFOA one of “the most persistent synthetic chemical known to man.”
Not only is PFOA everywhere on earth, but it is also likely to turn up in space. The Mars Exploration Rovers -- Spirit and Opportunity -- both contained Teflon fluoropolymer resin parts developed by DuPont.
- In February, 2005, DuPont settled a class-action lawsuit for $107.6 million brought by Ohio and West Virginia residents four years earlier. The suit alleged that the chemical company intentionally withheld and misrepresented information concerning the human health threat posed by PFOA. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of residents living near the DuPont plant on the Ohio River, southwest of Parkersburg, WV, whose drinking water supply was contaminated by PFOA. DuPont denied any wrongdoing but entered into the agreement because (according to them) of the time and expense of litigation. The agreement also called for DuPont to provide new water treatment equipment at an estimated cost of $10 million, and to fund a $5 million independent study to determine if PFOA makes people sick. $22.6 million in legal fees and expenses went to the residents who sued. One of the 50,000 people involved in the class action was Bucky Bailey, born with only one nostril and other facial defects during the time his mother was a DuPont factory worker exposed to PFOA.
- Also in 2005, DuPont agreed to pay a $10.25 million fine for failing to report to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the risks it knew about PFOA. Among research that DuPont kept secret were: 1981 documents which showed that its pregnant workers were passing the chemical to their unborn children; 2001 test results which showed levels of PFOA in the blood of people living near DuPont’s W. Va. facility; 1991 evidence that the chemical had contaminated the water supply to 12,000 people; a 1997 animal test in which PFOA killed all the rats which inhaled the chemical.
- April, 2006, Settlement of a federal lawsuit, in which DuPont was charged with contaminating the drinking water of one of its manufacturing facilities in Salem County, New Jersey, with PFOA and other chemicals. In addition to the $10.25 million EPA settlement, DuPont provided $6.25 million for Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEPs), for a total of $16.5 million.
E.I. DuPont de Nemours and Company Settlement: EPA settles PFOA case against DuPont for largest administrative civil penalty
Government Moves to Curb Use of Chemicals with Teflon Products