In 2005, DuPont publicists invited reporters to the company's Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg for a major announcement, according to the Charleston Gazette.|
Scientists had completed a study of the potential health effects of the chemical C8, or PFOA.
DuPont said they had some good news.
"To date, no human health effects known to be caused by PFOA," announced the headline on DuPont's news release.
Plant manager Paul Bossert repeated the line in a letter to Washington Works employees, saying it was to "Reaffirm what we have said all along: There are no known human health effects associated with exposure to PFOA."
DuPont officials touted the study as having the seal of approval from the company's Epidemiology Review Board, a team of independent experts from various universities, including Johns Hopkins and Yale.
Now, it turns out those experts did not reach the conclusion, at least not with the way DuPont chose to present the study results to company employees, the press and the public.
Noah Seixas of the University of Washington, was "a bit shocked" by DuPont's press statements. Another, David Wegman of the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, was "quite uncomfortable" with the way the company described the findings.
Four members of the expert team agreed that Bossert's letter to employees "was somewhere between misleading and disingenuous."
The U.S. Justice Department says DuPont won't face criminal charges linked to hiding information about the toxic chemical used to make the nonstick coating Teflon.