THE CHEMICAL INTRODUCED by DuPont in 2009 to replace the surfactant PFOA causes many of the same health problems in lab tests that the original chemical did, including cancer and reproductive problems, according to documents obtained by The Intercept. PFOA, also known as C8, was a key ingredient in Teflon.
C8 was originally manufactured by 3M, then by DuPont, and was phased out after a massive class-action lawsuit revealed evidence of its health hazards. The new chemical, sold under the name GenX, is used to make Teflon and many other products. While touting GenX as having a “more favorable toxicological profile” than C8, DuPont filed 16 reports of “substantial risk of injury to health or the environment” about its new chemical. The reports, discovered in the course of an investigation by The Intercept, were filed under Section 8 (e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and submitted to the EPA between April 2006 and January 2013. They cite numerous health effects in animals, including changes in the size and weight of animals’ livers and kidneys, alterations to their immune responses and cholesterol levels, weight gain, reproductive problems, and cancer.
“It’s the same constellation of effects you see with PFOA,” said Deborah Rice, a retired toxicologist who served as a senior risk assessor in the National Center for Environmental Assessment at the EPA. “There’s no way you can call this a safe substitute.”