People living close to the Dupont chemical plant in Dordrecht were for years exposed to higher than permitted levels of a chemical used in the making of Teflon, according to a new report from the public health institute RIVM.
Perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8, is classed as ‘potentially carcenogenic’ to humans by the World Health Organisation.
In its report, the RIVM says locals were exposed to higher than legal amounts of the compound via the atmosphere from 1970 to 2002 but not via drinking water, the AD reports.
‘In the worst case scenario, the norm was broken for 25 years,’ the RIVM is quoted as saying. ‘An impact on health, such as on the liver, cannot be ruled out with such chronic exposure.’ An additional risk of cancer ‘would appear to be limited’.
In 2002 emissions from the plant fell to below agreed norms and in 2012, C8 was replaced in Telfon production by another less harmful chemical.
The RIVM is now conducting follow-up research to assess if there is a need for a major health survey. The factory, now known as Chemours, reportedly said in a statement on Thursday that it will pick up the bill for blood tests for all current and former workers.
Last October, Dupont was ordered to pay $1.6m in damages to a 59-year-old woman who alleged perfluorooctanoic acid had contaminated drinking water and contributed to her contracting kidney cancer.
Some 3,500 people say they became ill after the company dumped C8 into the Ohio River and their drinking water from its Washington Works plant in West Virginia.