Good men one and all … but.

As a retired senior manager with AT&T and a retired commander in the U.S. Navy, I understand and applaud DuPont’s employee loyalty.

I attended the DuPont PR session at the La Font Inn in Pascagoula, and I am certain that all of the DuPont representatives there are good people and loyal employees just as Mr. Sheldon is. But the DuPont spin is so biased it is a carbon copy of the tobacco industry’s spin for the past 30 years; and we all know the reality of Big Tobacco’s corporate position and public relations efforts compared to the truth. And what the ultimate results of the tobacco industry spin have been on you and me and millions of Americans across the U.S.

Well, here are a few of the facts omitted by DuPont’s team.

3-M Corporation used to produce the PFOA (Teflon) components in their Cottage Grove, Minn., plant until 2000 when they elected to get out of the PFOA business.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s May 30, 2006, report sites these facts: The employees of the 3M plant who died of cancer (pancreatic, testicular, bladder, large colon and breast) and upper pulmonary disease were studied. Statistically, with a 95 percent probability, these deaths ranged from 1.7 times to 7 times (700 percent) higher that the actuarial studies for all of the deaths from similar causes for the entire state of Minnesota. While cerebrovascular disease mortality was 250 percent higher than the average population. Although not an absolute cause and effect for these “higher than normal” deaths can be attributed to PFOA, these facts are definitely a smoking gun.

The Environmental Protection Agency panel that has been studying the PFOA issue is comprised of 17 distinguished scientist and physicians with impeccable credentials. Thirteen of these professionals (75 percent) have concluded that PFOA is highly likely to be a human carcinogen. And all members of the committee have urged the continued study of the PFOA/carcinogen issue. Tests with rats and primates, although not yet conclusive, also show tumor growth and pre-cancerous conditions from exposure to PFOA.

Smoking Gun! DuPont’s track record speaks for itself.

In Parkersburg, W.Va., DuPont failed to safeguard the community where their local facility is located. Because of contaminated ground water, now DuPont is buying bottled water for the local citizens to drink.

DuPont recently settled a class action law suit for $300 million over contamination issues.

New Jersey refuses to let DuPont process PFOA in their state. Claims against DuPont for contamination at and around their DeLisle, Miss., operations are currently under way.

DuPont is currently paying for blood tests for 60,000 local residents in one state as part of on going studies from one event.

DuPont failed to report high levels of PFOA in the umbilical cord blood of new born babies.

Workers at DuPont facilities have recorded PFOA in their blood at 300 parts per billion compared to the general population throughout the U.S. which runs 4 parts billion … long term impact is yet unknown.

DuPont’s facility at Decatur, Ala., is under inspection for violation of regulatory rules.

DuPont was just fined $16,500,000 by the EPA for gross violations of EPA regulations, failure to test and non-reporting as required by Federal Law and EPA regulations.

Pascagoula’s local DuPont facility was recently sanctioned for failure to be in compliance with EPA reporting requirements.

DuPont says, “Trust Me.” I don’t think so. Well, then, what is driving DuPont to shove their PFOA processing down our throats given their track record and the growing body of evidence that continues to suggest that PFOA is harmful. Why would they want to dump 2, 4, or 1,000 pounds of PFOA concentrate into the Pascagoula waste water system and ultimately into the Pascagoula River? Same answer as the Tobacco Barons: Profit.

Recently, it was reported that DuPont’s revenues from the sale of the core PFOA product are estimated to be $700 million/year. If we conservatively assume a 20 percent pre-tax cash profit, this represents $1,250 per minute of cash profit every minute during the next 256 business days (year). It’s that simple. And what does Pascagoula/Jackson County get? Nine new jobs. The Risk/Reward ratio doesn’t compute. It ain’t worth the risk!

Yesterday, I was advised that local officials have been told by DuPont that as soon as the PFOA process is in full production, DuPont plans to bring three more chemical products to their Pascagoula facility to further processing. DuPont’s Pascagoula facility has a permit that allows 600,000 gallons per year of waste water to be discharged into the Pascagoula River. So what does this suggest for the future of Pascagoula’s citizens and our natural resources?

Our local and state authorities should take immediate steps to shut this program down until DuPont can prove with 100 percent certainty that their quest for profits through processing PFOA wastes won’t create another Love Canal in Jackson County. Our local Waste Water Treatment Authority, the Mississippi Marine Resources agency and the MS Environmental Agency should step up to the mark and do what is right for the people of Jackson County and its future generations and do it now.

One last note. DuPont has announced that they will stop producing PFOA in 2015. So why the rush to process and possibly pollute? Well, for estimated cash profits of $1,250/minute for the next nine years I guess DuPont is willing to take the risk … but not in my backyard!

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