USW Union: DuPont investor report says chemical giant falls short of full disclosure on Teflon-related costs

WILMINGTON, Del., April 28, 2005 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) — The following press release is being issued by USW Union:

The DuPont Co. has a failed record of providing investors with crucial information about hidden costs related to the production and use of controversial Teflon-related chemicals, according to a report released by a shareholder coalition.

“In a company where ethics are pounded into line workers, it is time for the top officers to walk their talk and disclose more information about PFOA to investors,” said environmental attorney and corporate accountability expert Sanford Lewis, author of the 38-page report.

PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, is used by DuPont to make Teflon. It is a suspected carcinogen under investigation by the EPA.

Lewis’ study — titled “The Shareholder’s Right to Know More: E.I. du Pont de Nemours and the Growing Financial Challenges of PFOA” — was commissioned by the DuPont Shareholders for Fair Value (DSFV). The coalition is the driving force behind a shareholder resolution demanding DuPont management fully disclose legal fees, expert fees, lobbying and media expenses between 1981 and 2004, related to the Teflon-chemical.

Leading environmental and international labor groups joined DSFV Wednesday in calling on DuPont officials to come clean about hidden financial, environmental and health costs associated with the DuPont’s years of making and using PFOAs.

“There is a wall of silence between the company, the public and the shareholders,” said Grant Cope, a Sierra Club environmental attorney specializing in toxic waste. “DuPont should tear down this ‘wall of silence’ and start talking straight with shareholders and with the public.”

Other groups attending a Wednesday morning press conference prior to the DuPont annual shareholder meeting include: the USW international labor union; the Washington-based Environmental Working Group; U.S. Public Interest Research Group; the Sierra Club; and DuPont employees from Wilmington, New York and New Jersey.

The Lewis Report cites internal DuPont memos, court documents and other records in building a powerful case that the chemical giant has failed over the years to inform investors in a timely fashion about legal and marketing liabilities, and did not alert workers and the public to potential health and safety concerns related to the Teflon-chemical.

Among the report’s findings is that workers at the DuPont Washington Works plant in Parkersburg, W.Va., were found in company studies to have higher than normal levels of leukemia, rheumatic heart disease, atherosclerosis and aneurysm — yet DuPont reportedly did not gather the data needed to assess the relationship to PFOA exposure.

“Health and environmental concerns are raising huge financial issues for DuPont,” said Lewis. “Our analysis shows the company’s investor disclosures were neither as timely nor as substantial as the issues would merit.”

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