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Chemical on DuPont pans to be tested
By Fu Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-13 01:10

China will test Teflon, a product widely used on frying pans, in the wake of reports that it may pose health hazards.

China's product quality watchdog announced the plan Monday after reports that DuPont, the US-based chemical giant that manufactures Teflon, did not disclose results from chemical tests related to the manufacturing of the product used on cooking pan surfaces.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said last Thursday that it would fine DuPont for failing to report test results regarding the synthetic chemical Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA).

PFOA is essential in the production of fluoropolymers and a main ingredient in the manufacture of Teflon.

"We will start tests soon because China is a huge market for the multinational," said a press officer with General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine speaking on condition of anonymity.

A public relations official from DuPont China said the company will actively co-operate with Chinese authorities and offer any documents it needs.

She did not say, however, how many frying pans with DuPont's Teflon were sold in China.

"My company is not the only firm to provide the questioned chemical."

The EPA also said DuPont conducted tests that showed the chemical, known as C-8, was transmitted from a pregnant DuPont worker to her fetus and that traces of it were found in public drinking water in communities near DuPont facilities. The company did not reveal any test results or that it had conducted the tests.

The EPA also found DuPont had failed to provide all of the toxicological data it had gathered on the chemical after a 1997 request from the agency.

Some Chinese chemical experts said Teflon could cause cancer at absolute high temperatures but further tests are needed.

DuPont said there is no legal basis for the EPA's allegations. The company contended that it has fully complied with statutory reporting requirements and disputes any association between PFOA and harmful effects on human health or the environment.

DuPont said it will file a formal denial within 30 days to the multiple allegations issued by the EPA.

"DuPont has provided substantial information to EPA supporting our conclusion that we have followed the law," said DuPont General Counsel Stacey J. Mobley. "We will take action to respond to the Agency's complaint and will vigorously defend our position."

Mobley insisted that the EPA's allegation is "not about the safety of our products but about administrative reporting."

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