Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a family of chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX and many other substances. Some PFAS (like PFOA and PFOS) are considered “long-chain” chemicals, and some types of PFAS (like GenX) are considered “short-chain” chemicals. PFAS have been used to make many industrial and consumer products worldwide since the 1940s, and are most commonly used in surface treatment applications for paper, fabric, cookware and carpeting. The treatment allows these products and materials to more effectively repel oil, water and stains.
PFAS includes thousands of materials with very different properties; some PFAS (like PFOA and PFOS) are considered “long-chain” chemicals, and some types of PFAS (like GenX) are considered “short-chain” chemicals. Long-chain substances tend to have more bio-persistence.
For several decades, DuPont along with many other industrial manufacturers purchased PFOA from 3M to use as a processing aid in the production of fluoropolymers. In 2000, 3M announced that it would discontinue manufacture of PFOA. In 2002, DuPont began manufacturing PFOA for its own use in order to maintain continuity for customers with critical applications. There were no replacements at the time. Based on the available science, DuPont did not believe there were any adverse health effects and that PFOA could be manufactured safely. At no point did DuPont ever knowingly harm anyone or dispose of PFOA illegally. PFOA was not a regulated compound at that time, nor is it today, and our wastewater, air and solid waste disposal methods were permitted and legal.
By 2006, DuPont made a commitment to phase out of PFOA and we achieved that in 2015.
In 2007, DuPont announced its commitment to discontinue manufacture, purchase or use of PFOA, and led the EPA’s PFOA Voluntary Stewardship Program to eliminate the use of PFOA by 2015.
The DuPont company that historically was known as E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. has gone through changes in recent years. Among other things, its performance chemicals business that had historical operations that involved PFOA became a separate, independent company called The Chemours Company. The new DuPont is a specialty products company that is working with customers and industry leaders in safety, healthcare, nutrition, electronics, mobility and construction—offering game-changing, innovative solutions to address some of the biggest challenges facing the world today.
DuPont’s historical use portrayed in documentaries such as The Devil We Know and as often reported by the media is simply not true or does not tell the full story.
DuPont is committed to being a responsible partner in addressing concerns about the health and environmental impacts of PFOA. That is why we fully support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) efforts to develop comprehensive, science-based guidelines for PFAS chemicals.