NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 11, 2005

Radical environmental groups and their lawyers use exaggerated claims and shaky science to scare the public, while extracting large awards from companies through class-action lawsuits.

At issue is a lawsuit by the radical Environmental Working Group (EWG) against DuPont. The suit alleges that DuPont contaminated water supplies in Ohio and West Virginia with the chemical PFOA, used to make Teflon. DuPont recently agreed to settle for $340 million.

However, the accusation was just one of many baseless claims made by the EWG, says Terrence Scanlon, former chairman of the Consumer Products Safety Commission

  • EWG claimed that PFOA concentrations in local drinking water were four parts per billion, above DuPont's own standard of one part per billion; but the EPA's own safety standard for PFOA is 150 parts per billion.
  • In 1995, the EWG claimed that children are most a risk from chemicals, particularly from pesticides in baby food, but a renowned cancer researcher dismissed the claim as an attempt to scare parents.
  • Last year, the EWG claimed that farmed salmon were contaminated with high levels of the chemical PCBs, but the claim was based on examination of only 10 fish; furthermore, the level of PCBs was only one-hundredth of the amount deemed safe by the FDA.

Furthermore, lawsuits and regulations based on false claims of health hazards needlessly cost producers, consumers and society as a whole, says Scanlon.

Source: Terrence Scanlon, "The Attack on Teflon Won't Stick," Charleston Daily Mail, March 4, 2005.


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