DuPont won’t face prosecution over birth defects linked to Dordrecht plant

Statue of justice.
Statue of justice.

Chemicals company DuPont will not face criminal prosecution for allegedly poisoning a number of female workers at its Lycra factory in Dordrecht, the Volkskrant said on Monday.

In total, 44 women who worked at the factory up to 2004 believe they may have suffered miscarriages, fetal abnormalities, and stillbirths because they dealt with a specific chemical known as DMAc at the plant over a period of years.

DMAc is used in the production of Lycra, and research stretching back to the 1960s says there is a link between the chemical and birth defects.

Despite the suspicions, and corporate films showing women working with the chemicals in the 1980s without protective clothing, there is no proof that the women were exposed to too high concentrations of DMAc, the public prosecution department told the VK.

It had therefore decided not to pursue a legal case, the department said.

DuPont is, however, embroiled in a criminal investigation relating to illegal emissions of perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8, a key component in Teflon and classed as ‘potentially carcenogenic’ to humans by the World Health Organisation.

Four years ago, the public health institute RIVM found high levels of C8 in the blood of people living close to the plant, even though the use of the chemical had stopped in 2012.

Since 2015, the factory at the centre of both cases has been run by DuPont spin-off Chemours.

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