Chemical Industry Used Big Tobacco’s Tactics To Conceal Evidence Of PFAS Risks

"DuPont or 3M scientists discovered PFAS toxicity internally, but did not publish findings or report them to the EPA, study says"

"In 1953, a paper developed for cigarette maker RJ Reynolds detailed possible cancer-causing agents in tobacco, but the document would remain hidden from public view for decades. In the interim, the industry told the public: “We don’t accept the idea that there are harmful agents in tobacco.”

The chemical industry, it seemed, took note. Just a few years later, DuPont scientists found PFAS enlarged lab rats’ livers and likely caused birth defects in workers. Still, the company told its employees the cancer-linked compounds are “about as toxic as table salt”.

Like the tobacco industry before it, the chemical industry managed to keep PFAS’s health risks hidden from the public for decades. A new peer-reviewed study dissecting PFAS producers’ public relations strategies provides a smoking gun timeline composed of industry studies and comments from DuPont and 3M officials showing they knew the dangers, but publicly insisted the chemicals were safe.

“The chemical industry used the tactics of the tobacco industry to delay public awareness of the toxicity of PFAS and, in turn, delayed regulations governing their use,” the University of California at San Francisco authors wrote. “PFAS are now ubiquitous in the population and environment.”"

Tom Perkins reports for the Guardian June 7, 2023.

Source: Guardian, 06/08/2023