Soon after DuPont started making C8 at Fayetteville Works, the chemical turns up in a well under the plant.
The public wouldn’t find out for another two years.
Part 2 in the series, In the Dark: The story behind GenX. Read Part 1 here.
In March 2003, a Fayetteville Observer reporter toured a new facility at DuPont’s Fayetteville Works plant, which had just begun producing C8.
DuPont wanted to allay public concerns over the compound, which had been used for decades to make nonstick coatings for pans, food packages and other household goods. At the time, C8 was the subject of multiple lawsuits in West Virginia and Ohio, after regulators determined C8 from a DuPont plant had contaminated public water supplies and private wells for thousands of people.
DuPont used to buy C8 from the 3M Co. in Minnesota, process it at the Fayetteville Works plant, and then ship it to the Washington Works plant in West Virginia for final production of Teflon. When 3M decided in 2000 to stop producing C8 for environmental reasons, DuPont took over as the country’s sole producer.
During the tour of Fayetteville Works, DuPont officials told the reporter that they had taken every precaution to ensure that C8 was contained to the $23 million state-of-the-art facility where it was being made.
Although C8 was found in monitoring wells at the plant, in the river and in Marshwood Lake, there is no evidence suggesting that it ever harmed anyone in southeastern North Carolina.
It’s C8’s replacement — GenX — and the related chemicals recently detected at high levels in public drinking water that have tens of thousands of people scared.
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