Local News

Cancer Concerns Worry Neighbors Of Fayetteville DuPont Plant

Posted February 16, 2006

— Teflon is a household name, literally. But a new report says chemicals used to make it might cause cancer.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Environmental Protection Agency took a deeper look into contamination near Fayetteville's DuPont plant. Officials aren't drawing conclusions at this point, but locals want to know answers.

DuPont's Fayetteville Works is the only plant in the country that makes ammonium perfluorooctonoate (PFOA). You may not know the chemical, but you know what the technology produces -- no-stick pans and stain resistant carpet.

But in 2003, PFOA turned up where it didn't belong. Scientists discovered traces of the chemical near the plant in the soil and in the water, even in the Cape Fear River. The EPA says PFOA may cause cancer, so people who live near DuPont, like Roger Ison, are worried.

"Every time I take a drink of water, I think about the damage that they're doing to the environment," said Ison.

But DuPont's experts disagree with the EPA. They say they found "no known human health effects" associated with PFOA. Still, the company is trying to figure out how the chemical seeped into the ground.

"We're committed to this community," said plant manager Barry Hudson. "We made a major investment here and we're going to continue to earn their trust."

In the meantime, some worry about even the slightest contamination.

Mable Council lives down the road. She said, "We don't want just a little bit. We don't want any at all."

Ison has thought above moving, but changed his mind.

"I got my house paid for, you know," he said. "I hate to walk out of here now."

Even so, Ison is not taking chances. He has a water cooler and doesn't drink water from the faucet.

The EPA is putting together a report on how dangerous PFOA is and whether it's linked to cancer. No word on when the final report will be released.


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