Dutch Probe DuPont’s Use of C8 at Dordrecht

22.07.2016 -

A Dutch public prosecutor has launched an official investigation into the use of what it called “potentially dangerous chemicals” at two former DuPont chemical plants near Dordrecht. The investigation follows other probes by the country’s public health institute RIVM and its social affairs ministry into claims that the US chemical producer’s use of the substances C8 and DMAc has led to health problems locally.

When the research is completed, the authorities will decide whether to press charges. A spokesman for the prosecutor’s offer told a Dutch newspaper there is “hard evidence that criminal acts have been committed.” 

The public health institute of the Netherlands, RIVM, in spring that people living close to the plant were for years exposed to higher than permitted levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, (PFOA or C8), which has been identified as a possible carcinogen. RIVM said locals were exposed to higher than legally permissible amounts of the compound through the air but not water from 1970 to 2002, when production was phased out. The facilities are now owned by DuPont spin-off Chemours.

DuPont, which is preparing to merge with Dow Chemical, also is facing thousands of class action suits in the US related to PFOA. The second part of the Dutch investigation concerns exposure to DMAc, a solvent used in the making of DuPont’s Lycra synthetic fiber. A large proportion of the company’s production staff were young women, who reportedly have suffered from much higher than average fertility and related problems.