Environmentalists recommended to an international panel last week that the widely used chemical C-8, and 19 other toxins, be included as part of a treaty that bans worldwide use of persistent pollutants.
The panel’s May 2-6 meeting in Uruguay is intended to establish the ground rules for adding chemicals to be covered by the treaty, known as the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) treaty.
The push to include such widely used chemicals such as C-8 may create headaches for the U.S., which has failed to ratify the POPs treaty in part because of controversy over provisions for listing new chemicals to the international ban. Environmentalists’ efforts to include in the treaty the 20 chemicals may spur U.S. manufacturers to pressure congressional Republicans for adoption of the treaty to ensure a presence at future meetings of the international panel.
The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) distributed a report at the meeting arguing that C-8, also called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a related chemical known as PFOS, five brominated flame retardants and seven pesticides, among others, be added to the treaty.
The WWF report comes in the wake of an EPA enforcement action against DuPont and several class-action suits alleging that communities around production facilities have experienced adverse health impacts from C-8 contamination of drinking water supplies. The compound is also found at low levels in 95 percent of the U.S. public, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. The chemical is widely used in non-stick consumer products, such as Teflon cookware and Gore-Tex clothing.
A DuPont spokesman declined to comment on the WWF report.