Sunday 31 May 2020

Dordrecht teflon plant is emitting cancer-causing chemicals: Volkskrant

C8 was used to make teflon. Photo: Depositphotos.com

GenX is used to make teflon. Photo: Depositphotos.com

Dordrecht teflon plant Chemours (formally DuPont) is emitting a cancer-causing chemical into the atmosphere which endangers the health of workers and locals, the Volkskrant said on Wednesday.

The substance, known as GenX,  has been shown to cause cancer, liver and kidney disease and fertility issues in mice and rats, the paper said.

Toxicologists are now calling on Chemours to stop emissions of GenX via the plant chimneys. ‘You cannot just spread this sort of poison in residential areas,’ toxicology professor Jacob de Boer told the paper.

Chemours denies the substance causes cancer and argues the lab results say nothing about the impact on human health. Nor will the company say how much GenX it is allowed to emit under its current environmental permits.

Cancer

Chemours has been using GenX in the production of teflon since 2012 when it stopped using perfluorooctanoic acid or C8, which is also cancer causing. At the time GenX was said to be safe.

The provincial authorities in Zuid-Holland, who issued the environmental permits, said they will not intervene because GenX is not included on the European list of problem chemicals.

However, toxicologists say GenX is ‘almost identical’ to C8.

Investigation

Earlier this month the public prosecution department said it is starting an investigation into the use of two potentially dangerous chemicals at the former Dupont chemical works near Dordrecht – C8 and DMAc.

The investigation follows other probes by the public health institute RIVM and social affairs ministry into claims that the use of chemicals has caused health problems in both staff and locals.

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