"Battle Over Chemical Used to Make Non-Stick Pans Heats Up"

"TRENTON -- A large manufacturer and user of a chemical in non-stick cookware and stain resistant fabrics is pressing New Jersey state regulators to reduce what could amount to a multi-billion dollar water cleanup bill.

The tug-of-war between the state of New Jersey and DuPont over perfluorooctanoic acid, PFOA, in drinking water has reached a critical stage, according to documents posted Wednesday by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, PEER.

In an unusual move, DuPont consultants are being allowed to make a presentation to the state Drinking Water Quality Institute which develops recommended standards for hazardous contaminants in drinking water.

On Friday, Dr. Robert Tardiff of the Sapphire Group, which is advising DuPont, will speak to the Institute on PFOA risk assessment. The meeting is with the full Institute rather than with its Health Effects Subcommittee which is responsible for recommending health based levels for the contaminants.

There has been no public notice of this meeting and it is unclear if the public or press may attend, says PEER Executive Director attorney Jeff Ruch.

'This departure from protocol seems to be an attempt to sway members of the Institute before they have a chance to analyze DEP’s own risk assessment,' said Ruch, noting that the Institute is not bound by state open meeting laws. 'Polluters should not get a seat at the table where it is decided how harmful their pollution is.'"

Environment News Service had the story August 6, 2009.

Friday, August 7, 2009