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幸运飞艇全天人工计划: 这口锅不粘油污,却粘上了洗不掉的争议

极速飞艇开奖记录 www.23y3y.cn Ken Otterbourg 2018年06月06日

因不粘锅材料含潜在有害化合物,化学行业巨头科慕正面临北卡罗来纳州居民抗议。

特氟龙是非常典型的美式产品。其发现过程是个意外,而且跟很多发现一样是研究其他物质时偶然所得。现在不管在煎锅还是爆米花桶,在医疗器械和电子设备中,在修枝剪刀和汽车上都有应用。特氟龙无处不在,而且十分重要。特氟龙这个词(Teflon,意为扳不倒的)也已融入词汇,用来表达对政客和黑手党头目的嫉妒和愤怒。连二战最终获胜也与之有关:为了制造第一颗原子弹而浓缩铀的工厂里,人们要用特氟龙密封以防气体扩散。

特氟龙的生产商为化工厂商科慕,科慕2015年从杜邦拆分。当时很多投资者认为科慕注定倒闭,甚至从杜邦分离出去也可能是有意为之??颇匠械A硕虐畹幕繁U?,还背负了数十亿债务。但科慕证明评论者全都猜错,通过出售业务、削减成本、广泛应用环保制冷剂欧特昂收益大增,其股票在市场上受到热捧。今年科慕销售收入62亿美元,在《财富》美国500强中排名第451,较去年排名上升了31位。与此同时,其从前的母公司杜邦与陶氏化学完成合并后已从榜单上消失。(合并后的陶氏杜邦目前在今年《财富》美国500强里排第47名。)过去两年里科慕股价飙升超过400%,同期标普500指数上涨33%。

2017年2月,科慕与杜邦解决环境问题方面获得重大进展,当时两家公司有望在拒绝承认过失也无需承担责任的前提下解决不断蔓延的集体诉讼。原告针对的是名为C8的化学原料,曾经是制造特氟龙的关键原料,据称与某些类型的癌症和其他疾病有关。能签下和解协议也确保了这家新生公司稳定发展。

但科慕(其实杜邦也一样)现在发现特氟龙本身面临法律和监管问题。这次是因为替代C8开发的化学物质,还有数十年来该公司在北卡罗来纳将该物质排放至空气和开普菲儿河中,这条河位于北卡罗来纳威尔明顿附近,向超过25万人提供水源。

涉事化学物质名叫GenX。(不要跟X世代弄混了,X世代是指婴儿潮之后出生的一代人。)在科慕在北卡罗来纳的费耶特维尔工厂内部和附近遍布GenX。泥土里有GenX,也随着雨水落在地上。州政府官员表示,附近居民家的井里也发现了GenX,引发了恐惧和愤怒。

Teflon is the quintessential American product. It was discovered by accident and like many such discoveries was at first simply a creation in search of a purpose. Versions of it are in our frying pans and popcorn bags, our medical devices and electronic gadgets, our pruning shears and our cars. It is ubiquitous and essential. It is part of our vocabulary, uttered with both envy and exasperation to describe politicians and Mafia dons. It even helped win World War II: Teflon was needed to properly seal the pipes in the gaseous diffusion plant where uranium was enriched to make the first atomic bombs.

Teflon is made by Chemours, a chemical manufacturer that was spun out of DuPont in 2015. At that time, many investors thought Chemours was destined—even designed—to fail. It was weighted down with both DuPont’s environmental liabilities and billions in debt. But the company proved critics wrong and has become a stock market darling by selling businesses, cutting costs, and reaping a windfall from widespread adoption of its Opteon line of environmentally friendly refrigerants. With $6.2 billion in sales, Chemours ranks No. 451 on this year’s Fortune 500, up 31 spots from last year. Its erstwhile parent DuPont, meanwhile, fell off the list this year after completing its merger with Dow Chemical. (The combined ?DowDuPont ranks No. 47 on this year’s 500.) Shares of Chemours have soared more than 400% over the past two years vs. a 33% gain for the S&P 500.

In February 2017, Chemours took a big step toward resolving its environmental problems when it and DuPont were able to settle—without admitting fault or liability—a sprawling class-action litigation with plaintiffs involving a chemical known as C8, a once-vital ingredient for making Teflon that has been linked to certain kinds of cancer and other diseases. The agreement appeared to signal stability and certainty for the young company.

But Chemours (and by extension, DuPont) now finds itself again in legal and regulatory trouble with Teflon. This time it’s over the chemical developed to replace C8—and how it came to be that the companies were for decades discharging this substance from a factory in rural North Carolina into the air and the Cape Fear River, the water supply for more than 250,000 people in and around Wilmington, N.C.

The chemical is called GenX. (Not to be confused with Generation X, the demographic cohort that came after the baby boomers.) GenX is everywhere in and around the Chemours North Carolina factory, known as the Fayetteville Works. It’s in the dirt, falling to the earth with the rain. It is in the wells of nearby residents, say state officials, sparking fear and anger.

通往科慕工厂费耶特维尔工厂的道路。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

“人们问我为什么不离开?!弊≡诠こЦ浇穆罂恕の痔厮顾?,他的5公顷土地上水井和产业都因科慕工厂排放受到污染,所以加入诉讼。他的回答很简单:“问题不是我造成的,是他们造成的?!?

GenX已跟实验室动物癌症产生联系。由于科慕在荷兰建有特氟龙工厂,2016年荷兰政府出具报告称,GenX的毒性低于C8,但仍“有可能导致人类罹患癌症”。其他研究表明低剂量的GenX比较安全。目前还没有人类流行病学方面的研究。

由于存在种种不确定性,GenX已变成所谓的新兴污染物或健康风险未知的化学物质,也引发了规范行业的全国性讨论?;幸低ü蟹⒕莩聘踩奶娲非葱?,但并不一定安全。之所以现状如此,与美国环境?;な鹈媪傺细裆蟛橐膊晃薰叵?,环保署署长斯考特·普鲁伊特的支出、旅行和跟游说者的关系都受到多次调查,另一方面又要追踪各种妨碍管控空气中和水中排放物质的政策。GenX引发的争议就凸显出当前策略的局限性:特朗普政府提名负责人去环保署监督化学污染都只能作罢,部分原因是该提名人士曾为GenX辩护遭到质疑。

“People ask me why I don’t just walk away,” said Mike Watters, who lives near the factory on five acres with a well and property contaminated by Chemours’s discharges and has joined a lawsuit against the company. He has a simple answer: “I didn’t cause this. They did.”

GenX has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. A 2016 report from the Dutch government—Chemours has a Teflon factory in the Netherlands—said it was less toxic than C8 but still a “suspected human carcinogen.” Other research suggests GenX is safe at low doses. There have been no human epidemiology studies.

The uncertainty has made GenX a symbol of so-called emerging contaminants, or chemicals for which the health risks are not known. It is fueling a national debate over how to regulate an industry in which innovation is often driven by developing replacement chemicals that are said to be safer—if not always actually safe. This is all taking place as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is under scrutiny, with Administrator Scott Pruitt facing multiple investigations into his spending, travel, and ties to lobbyists while also pursuing policies that could make it harder to control what gets pumped into our air and water. The GenX controversy may show the limits of that strategy: The Trump administration’s appointee for the EPA section overseeing chemical pollution was forced to withdraw, in part, because he faced stiff resistance for defending GenX in the past.

北卡罗来纳威尔明顿,从开普菲儿河抽取河水到水质处理厂的管道。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

与此同时,北卡罗来纳州官员正通过更严格的监管和诉讼程序限制科慕。一起诉讼中,州政府指控科慕在排放量方面有组织误导监管机构?!案荻虐詈涂颇教峁┑男畔?,水资源部门工作人员合理地认为GenX没有排入开普菲尔河?!备弥菸募???颇缴形淳拖喙刂缚刈龀龌赜蚬⒈硪饧???颇交姑媪僖幌盗兴咚?,包括自称水井受污染的业主、依赖公共饮用水资源的居民以及从开普菲尔河抽水的当地政府。

“我们希望排入河流且无法再过滤的物质不会污染饮用水,而且相关费用不应由纳税人支付?!笨辗贫彩乱倒芾砭种葱凶芗嗉贰じ@诚L啬伤?。他也是原告之一,正考虑斥资4600万美元建立处理厂过滤GenX及相关污染物。

North Carolina officials, meanwhile, are trying to rein in Chemours through tighter regulation and litigation. In a pending lawsuit, the state claims the company systematically misled its regulators on its emissions. “In fact, information provided by DuPont and Chemours led Division of Water Resources staff to reasonably believe that GenX was not being discharged into the Cape Fear,” the state’s filing says. ?Chemours has not yet responded to or made public comments about the allegations. Chemours also faces a slew of lawsuits from property owners with allegedly contaminated wells, from residents who rely on public drinking water, and from the local governments that draw their water from the Cape Fear.

“We want an assurance that the things that are going into the river that we can’t filter are safe for our drinking water, and that’s not something that our rate payers should pay for,” says Jim Flechtner, the executive director of the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority, which is a plaintiff and is considering whether to build a $46 million treatment plant to filter out GenX and related contaminants.

肯·马德森在威尔明顿奥格登公园用瓶子装满干净的水。和当地许多居民一样,自从发现自来水中有GenX,马德森再也不喝水龙头的水。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

科慕拒绝了《财富》杂志采访。在法庭文件中,科慕表示排放时遵循了适当的程序,其GenX排放量不足以产生毒性??颇秸占蹽enX污染的废水并送往别处处理。州政府要求科慕为住在工厂附近的居民提供瓶装水,而且科慕已汇报称将花费1亿美元,几乎彻底消除排放造成的空气污染。

“我们仍然认为排放行为......没有影响到任何人的健康?!?

——科慕首席执行官马克·魏格纳诺

2月的业绩发布电话会议上,科慕首席执行官马克·魏格纳诺表示无需担心,由于科慕在寻找长期解决方案,所以刻意保持低调?!俺吻逡坏?,我们仍然认为,不管是2015年中成为独立公司之前还是之后,排放都没有影响任何人的健康?!彼?。

虽然魏格纳诺因高度自律和执行能力而备受业界尊敬,但公司复苏过程中赶上好时候也很重要。该公司最大的产品线二氧化钛日趋稳定,而欧特昂价格明显上升,科慕才能稳步发展。 “欧特昂给公司帮了很大忙?!碧乩笱Ь醚Ы淌谡材匪埂げ技乃?。他从科慕分拆独立就一直密切关注。

但特氟龙和GenX为科慕的未来前景蒙上阴影。穆迪最近表示,科慕债券目前评级为Ba2,提升的可能性不大,“除非法律风险明确,或者与一个或多个原告达成更清晰的和解标准?!倍钥颇胶屯鞫俚木用窭此?,要解决可能不会很快。

如果以不粘著称的特氟龙也有摆脱不掉的东西,看来就是争议了。

像泰诺诺一样,特氟龙这个品牌名称很难发音。实际上是一种名为聚四氟乙烯或PTFE的混合物,1938年由27岁的化学家罗伊·J·普兰科特发现,当时他在新泽西州深水镇的杜邦杰克逊实验室研究新制冷剂。实验似乎失败了。但是,当普兰科特将蜡质物质留在实验室圆筒内部测试时,他发现该材料极耐热且耐腐蚀,表面几乎没有摩擦。直到1946年公司才宣布发现特氟龙。

GenX和C8属于全氟烷基(PFAS)物质,都是用于制造聚四氟乙烯和类似物质的聚合助剂。这些分子的核心是一个碳-氟键,韧性极强,最终成品也一样。3M曾经为其思高洁皮革?;ぜ敛飞鶦8,后来出售给杜邦制造特氟龙。但由于C8可能影响健康引起人们关注,2000年3M停止生产。(2018年2月,3 M同意向明尼苏达州支付8.5亿美元,双方就工厂含氟化合物排放污染圣保罗附近饮用水的问题达成和解;宣布和解方案时,3M表示并不存在与全氟化合物PFC相关的公共卫生问题。)到2000年底,杜邦一直在费耶特维尔工厂生产C8,然后送到西弗吉尼亚州帕克斯堡的工厂制造特氟龙。

最后杜邦决定抛弃C8。流行病学研究已将C8与甲状腺疾病、某些类型的癌症、溃疡性结肠炎,妊娠高血压和高胆固醇关联。杜邦一遍努力应付帕克斯堡工厂(现在属于科慕)相关的诉讼,同时也在跟其他化学公司和政府合作逐步淘汰C8。计划始于2006年,两家公司同意到2015年淘汰C8和类似化学品。目标实现了,但有个遗留问题:杜邦仍需要聚合助剂。

由此进入了GenX时代。

“人们问我为什么不离开,”一位愤怒的居民表示?!拔侍獠皇俏以斐傻?,是他们造成的?!?/em>

这种新化学品应该比前任安全一些。C8有8个碳原子,GenX化合物则是短链PFAS分子,只有6个碳原子,一些研究表明,短链可能毒性较小,也不太可能在生物体中累积。在营销材料中,GenX技术被吹捧为“毒理特征良好”。

2009年,杜邦获得美国环境?;ぞ中砜缮鶪enX,前提是有严格的排放控制措施并进一步测试对健康的影响。在科学界内,政府宣布胜利是不是太快还存在分歧。不管怎样,杜邦公司在北卡罗来纳州的工厂已开始生产GenX。

费耶特维尔工厂位于威尔明顿市西北50英里,与布朗斯维克和彭德县接壤,工厂从开普菲儿河最后一个闸门和大坝上方的狭窄入口处抽水,之后水流通过一个巨大的纸浆厂,并随潮汐作用与海水相融。

Chemours declined repeated requests from Fortune for interviews. In court papers, the company has said it followed proper procedures on its discharges and that GenX is not toxic at the amounts released. But the company is now capturing its GenX-contaminated wastewater and sending it off-site for disposal. Chemours has been ordered to provide bottled water to many residents who live near the factory, and it has told the state it will spend $100 million to eliminate virtually all of its tainted-air emissions.

“We continue to believe that none of the discharges … have adversely impacted anyone’s health.”

——Mark Vergnano, CEO of Chemours

The CEO of Chemours, Mark Vergnano, said on an earnings call in February that there is no cause for concern and that Chemours has purposefully kept a low profile out of respect for the process of finding a long-term solution. “I really want to be clear that we continue to believe that none of the discharges either before we became an independent company in mid-2015 or after have adversely impacted anyone’s health,” he said.

While Vergnano is well-respected in the industry for his discipline and execution skills, good timing has played a part in the company’s recovery. Prices for titanium dioxide—the company’s largest product line—stabilized just as Opteon took off, giving Chemours some needed momentum. “Opteon turned the company around,” says James Butkiewicz, a professor of economics at the University of Delaware who has watched Chemours closely since its spinoff.

But Teflon and GenX are casting a shadow over Chemours’s future prospects. Moody’s said recently that it would be unlikely to consider an upgrade for Chemours debt, now at Ba2, “until the litigation risk has better clarity, or until there are clearer settlement parameters with one or more of the complainants.” For both the company and the residents of Wilmington, resolution might not come anytime soon.

If there’s one thing that sticks to Teflon, it seems, it’s controversy.

Like Tylenol, Teflon is a brand name for something far harder to pronounce. The actual material is a concoction called polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, which was discovered in 1938 by Roy J. Plunkett, a 27-year-old chemist, as he worked on new refrigerants at DuPont’s Jackson Laboratory in Deepwater, N.J. One experiment appeared to be a failure. But when Plunkett took the waxy substance left inside a lab cylinder and tested it, he found that the material was extremely resistant to heat and corrosion and possessed almost no surface friction. Teflon’s existence would not be revealed to the public until 1946.

GenX and C8 belong to a class of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. They are polymerization aids used to make Teflon and similar substances. At the core of these molecules is a carbon-fluorine bond that is extremely strong and resilient, qualities that end up in the finished substance. 3M used to make C8 for its Scotchgard products and also sold the chemical to DuPont for making Teflon. But 3Mstopped production of C8 in 2000 as health concerns started to mount about exposure to the chemical. (In February 2018 the company agreed to pay $850 million to the state of Minnesota to settle claims that fluorochemical discharges from its factories contaminated drinking water near St. Paul; in ?announcing the settlement, 3M said it didn’t believe there was a PFC-related public health issue.) By the end of 2000, DuPont was making C8 at the Fayetteville Works and shipping the chemical to its factory in Parkersburg, W.Va., to make Teflon.

DuPont eventually decided to move on from C8 as well. Epidemiological studies have tied C8 to thyroid disease, certain kinds of cancer, ulcerative colitis, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and high cholesterol. Even as DuPont was fighting lawsuits tied to the Parkersburg complex (now owned by Chemours), it was working with other chemical companies and the government to phase out C8. That program started in 2006, and the companies agreed to eliminate C8 and similar chemicals by 2015. They accomplished that goal but were left with a separate problem: DuPont still needed a polymerization aid.

Enter GenX.

“People ask me why I don’t just walk away,” says one angry resident. “I didn’t cause this. They did.”

There was reason to believe the chemical would be less problematic than its predecessor. C8 has eight carbon atoms. GenX compounds are short-chain PFAS molecules, with only six carbon atoms, and some research indicated that a shorter chain might be less toxic and less likely to build up in organisms. In marketing materials, the GenX technology was touted as having a “favorable toxicological profile.”

In 2009, DuPont entered into a consent order with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that allowed the production of GenX, provided there were strict emissions controls and further testing of its health effects. Within the scientific community, there is still disagreement over whether the government declared victory too quickly. But DuPont began making GenX at its factory in North Carolina.

The Fayetteville Works is 50 miles northwest from where the City of Wilmington—as well as Brunswick and Pender counties—draws water from a narrow inlet just above the last lock and dam on the Cape Fear, after which the river runs past an enormous pulp mill and becomes brackish with the tides.

开普菲尔河看护者肯普·伯德特一直提醒人们关注向水中排放GenX问题。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

布兰登县的北端的工厂附近,开普菲儿河在地形图上几乎看不出涟漪,只是隔开农场、数目和小镇的一条泥泞丝带。费耶特维尔工厂数英里处是世界上最大的生猪屠宰场,曾属于史密斯菲尔德食品集团,2013年起由一家中国企业控制。这家拥有大量移民,所有者又来自国外的屠宰场曾频繁出现在新闻头条中。当然,这都是GenX风波之前。

全氟化学在理论上是复杂的,实践中可能也不精确。例如,杜邦公司的一位工程师在2002年写道:“与所有化学工艺一样,合成目标产品的化学反应过程中会有副反应,过程中产生数十或数百种浓度非常低的副产品?!备霉こ淌λ?,氟化学“异常复杂”,并解释说“大部分副产品都是未知化合物”。杜邦不确定是否副产品需要测试并报告,因此向州政府咨询意见。并没有州政府回应的记录。

2012年,环保局科学家们第一次在开普菲儿河发现了GenX。采集水样里发现了各种各样的全氟化合物。美国环保署研发办公室的科学家马克·斯特莱纳说,随着工业和政府数据库的大量调查,高分辨质谱的应用能帮研究人员识别各种化合物。一年后,斯特莱纳和其他研究人员重新研究开普菲儿河,希望能回答更具有针对性的问题:GenX有多广泛?在饮用水中存在吗?他们发现水中含有大量GenX,2016年11月发表在一份学术期刊上,并送给州和地方各层官员。但直到2017年6月,威尔明顿当地报纸《StarNews》才获得这项研究结果,开始发表一系列关于开普菲儿河污染的报道。

科慕工厂实际上是近3平方英里树林里的几个设施。该工厂除了生产GenX,还生产用于燃料电池膜上的Nafion。另一部门仍由杜邦负责,主要生产聚氟乙烯树脂。2016年4月科慕申请更新排放许可证时,发现Nafion,层压板和聚乙烯加工将废水排放到河里之前,都将废水送到科慕设施的处理厂??颇匠?,GenX生产线都没有送往污水处理厂。相反,所有废料已被送往别处处理。但如果真是这样,GenX为何会出现在开普菲儿河中呢?

2017年6月15日,报纸开始系列报道一周后,科慕一个团队与威尔明顿当地官员会面。根据StarNews编辑获准出席记录下的会议情况,科慕团队确认GenX来源不是生产线。这是好消息?;迪⑹?,GenX显然是工厂中其他化学品的副产品,并且早在1980年就排放到河中。并非设计原因,但也不是简单的意外。多年以来科慕一直知道,还表示2013年采用的新技术已降低GenX排放量的80%。

科慕团队告诉官员,没有必要通知相关情况。该公司产品可持续性总监凯西·奥基夫在6月15日的会议上表示,科慕并未收到指令公开宣布废水中存在GenX,因为生产许可只包含目标化学物质。奥基夫说:“我们从未使用GenX,只是根据TSCA(有毒物质控制法)要求在无意中生产,由过程的副产品中生成。其生产全程没有商业意图,所以无需接受监管?!?

奥基夫和团队成员都在努力减轻会上其他人的恐惧?!拔胰衔泻芏嗟胤轿疵魅?,”她说?!八锸怯姓庵钟卸净镏?。但毒理学第一条规则是,不可离开剂量谈毒性。仅仅因为某种物质存在并不意味着一定有害。你知道用球芽甘蓝做菜会释放甲醛吗?”

Near the factory, at the northern end of Bladen County, the Cape Fear is barely a ripple in the topography, just a muddy ribbon cutting between farms and timber and small towns. A few miles downriver from the Fayetteville Works is the world’s largest hog slaughterhouse, once part of the Smithfield Foods empire and since 2013 controlled by a Chinese conglomerate. The slaughterhouse, with its heavily immigrant workforce and foreign owners, used to dominate the headlines. That was before GenX.

Perfluorinated chemistry is complex in theory but can also be imprecise in practice. For example, a DuPont engineer wrote the following to state regulators in 2002: “As with all chemical processes, side reactions to the desired product reaction create dozens or hundreds of by-products in very low concentrations.” The engineer said the fluorochemistry involved was “exceptionally complicated” and explained that “most of the by-products are unknown compounds.” The company wasn’t sure whether it needed to test for and report these by-products, and asked the state for suggestions. There is no record that the state ever responded.

EPA scientists first detected GenX in the Cape Fear in 2012. Water samples taken then revealed a wide range of perfluorinated compounds. Advances in the use of high-resolution mass spectrometry along with a great deal of sleuthing on industrial and government databases allowed researchers to identify these chemicals, says Mark Strynar, a scientist in the EPA’s Office of Research and Development who led the research. A year later, Strynar and other researchers returned to the river in hopes of answering more pointed questions: How extensive was GenX? And was it showing up in drinking water? Their findings—that there were significant amounts of GenX in the water—were published in an academic journal in November 2016 and sent to a wide range of state and local officials. But little happened until June 2017, when the Wilmington newspaper, the StarNews, got hold of the research and began a series on the Cape Fear’s contamination.

The Chemours factory is really several facilities surrounded by nearly three square miles of woods. Along with GenX, the plant also makes Nafion, used in fuel-cell membranes. Another section is still run by DuPont to make polyvinyl fluoride resins. When Chemours applied for its discharge permit renewal in April 2016, it noted that the Nafion, laminates, and polyvinyl processes all sent their wastewater to the facility’s treatment plant before it was sent to the river. The GenX line, it said, wasn’t even connected to the treatment plant. Rather, all that waste was already being sent off-site. But if that was the case, then how was the chemical ending up in the Cape Fear?

On June 15, 2017, a week after the newspaper began its series, a team from Chemours met with local officials in Wilmington. According to notes from the meeting taken by a StarNews editor who was allowed to attend, the Chemours team confirmed that the GenX wasn’t coming from the production line. That was the good news. The bad news was that GenX was apparently also a by-product of other chemical production at the factory, and it had been released into the river as far back as 1980. This wasn’t exactly by design, but it also wasn’t simply an accident. The company had known about it for years and said that new technology installed in 2013 had captured 80% of the GenX discharges.

Chemours told the officials there had been no need to share that knowledge. Kathy O’Keefe, the company’s director of product sustainability, said at the June 15 meeting that Chemours had no requirement to disclose the presence of GenX in the waste stream because the consent order covered only the substance’s purposeful manufacture. Said O’Keefe: “It was never used. It was produced unintentionally so under the requirements of TSCA (the Toxic Substances Control Act), it’s made in the by-product of the process. There’s no commercial intent there, so it doesn’t get regulated until there’s commercial intent.”

O’Keefe and the others tried to allay the fears in the room. “I think a lot of it is the unknown,” she said. “There’s this toxic chemical in our water. There’s the first rule of toxicology, which is, the dose makes the poison. Just because something is present doesn’t mean it’s going to cause harm. When you cook Brussels sprouts, did you know you release formaldehyde?”

一位渔民在1号船闸和大坝钓鱼。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

纽约州立大学环境工程教授对的特雷弗·纳普是2016年供水系统含GenX报告的主要作者,他说科慕承认的方式简直令人惊讶?!敖岷?7年来基本上无节制排放的历史,(他们的态度)简直令人震惊?!?

GenX在空气或水中的浓度没有监管标准。北卡罗来纳州首先提出7.1万亿分之一(PPT)的健康指引,但随后降至140 PPT??颇焦宋手桓嫠咧菡?,修订“没有科学依据”。自从科慕将废水送往别处,GenX水平一直低于该州制定的新标准。虽然积极发展,但已是排放30多年之后。2016年研究发现,以前GenX的水平一般在630 PPT左右。纳普还表示,研究和水样采集显示水里存在多种全氟化学品,都与科慕相关?!癎enX是低于140 PPT,但水中还有其他物质,同样不可忽视。这些还只是一小部分?!?

健康指引没有法律效力??颇胶投虐钤诜ㄍド媳硎?,不能为超出不存在的标准承担责任。如果地方政府表示饮用水安全,事实也如此,公司就没有造成损害?!敖鲆蛭写嬖诨镏?,并不能成为任何一方找麻烦或投诉过失的理由,除非化学物质含量超过人类健康的相关规定?!笨颇皆谝幌疃橹行吹?,希望驳回开普菲尔公共事业管理局和布朗斯维克县提起的联邦诉讼。北卡罗来纳州在诉讼中声称,科慕违反了清洁水源法。州政府称,由于GenX不是天然物质,监管标准默认为“实际定量限制”,即不超过10 PPT??颇剿蹈孟拗剖导噬厦挥懈?。

Detlef Knappe, a professor of environmental engineering at N.C. State University and the lead author of the 2016 report on GenX in the water supply, says Chemours’s admission was stunning and revealing. “If you look at the history of 37 years of essentially uncontrolled discharges, it is something that is pretty egregious.”

There is no regulatory level for GenX concentrations in the air or water. North Carolina first set a health advisory of 71,000 parts per trillion (PPT) but then lowered it to 140 PPT. A Chemours consultant told the state there was “no scientific rationale” for the revision. Since Chemours began shipping its wastewater off-site, GenX levels have stayed below the state’s new level. While that’s a positive development, it comes after more than 30 years of discharges; the 2016 study found that GenX levels had typically been about 630 PPT previously. In addition, Knappe says the research and ongoing water sampling revealed the presence of a wide range of other related perfluorinated chemicals, all tied to Chemours. “The elephant in the room is that GenX is below 140, but there’s all these other products in the water. It’s really just a fraction of the total.”

The health advisory has no force of law. Chemours and DuPont have said in court papers that they can’t be liable for exceeding a standard that doesn’t exist. And if the local governments say the water is safe to drink, which they still do, then the companies have not caused any damage. “The mere presence of a chemical in water does not allow a party to seek recovery for nuisance or negligence unless the amount of that chemical exceeds an amount set by regulation for the protection of human health,” they wrote in a motion seeking to dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and Brunswick County. The state of North Carolina asserted in its lawsuit that Chemours has violated clean-water laws. Because GenX isn’t a natural substance, it said the regulatory standard defaults to a “practical quantitation limit,” no more than 10 PPT. Chemours says that limit has no basis in fact.

开普菲尔公共事业管理局的化学处理室,专门为威尔明顿供水。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

GenX环境暴露范围仍有待确定,而确定范围才有机会补救。俄亥俄州和西弗吉尼亚州帕克斯堡附近的供水中已发现GenX,来源是北卡罗来纳州。 与此同时,科慕正测试过滤系统可否除去费耶特维尔工厂附近居民家井水里的GenX。

1991年,吉姆·麦克瑞搬到科慕工厂以北半英里。他的继母,姐姐和姐夫也住在附近。尽管家里水井测试时GenX含量在140 PPT以下,但另外一些小木屋的水测试时在400PPT以上。州政府官员告诉他,夏天消暑时去的池塘已遭污染。他和几十个邻居已起诉科慕和杜邦,找的是代理公用事业部门的律师。

The full scope of the environmental exposure to GenX is still to be determined—as is the best approach to remediation. GenX has been found in water supplies in Ohio and West Virginia near Parkersburg, where the chemical was shipped from North Carolina. Meanwhile, Chemours is testing whether filtration systems can remove GenX from the well water used by people who live near the Fayetteville Works.

Jim MacRae moved to a house a half-mile north of the Chemours factory in 1991. His stepmother, a sister, and brother-in-law also live nearby. While the well at his house tests below the 140 PPT, another near some cabins he owns is at 400. He says state officials have told him the pond where he cools off in the summer is toxic. And he and dozens of his neighbors have sued Chemours and DuPont, represented by the same attorneys who are handling the litigation on behalf of the utilities.

吉姆·麦克瑞在科慕工厂附近拥有30英亩土地,发现水遭GenX污染。他是起诉科慕的居民之一。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

去年,杜邦和科慕支付3.35亿美元解决帕克斯堡及周边地区的C8诉讼,但麦克瑞坚持认为钱不是重点?!拔蚁胍氖且丫サ亩?,杜邦和科慕排放之前的干净水质?!币坏酵砩纤钠拮泳涂伎?。邻居们对水里的化学物质充满恐慌,对水里存在很多年的物质也莫名恐惧。 “所有一切,”麦克瑞说,“都是做不粘锅的人造成的?!?

2018年4月27日的一封信中详细描述了公司耗资1亿美元的排放控制计划,科慕以为律师表示担心北卡罗来纳州真正想达到的是零排放,他认为这种要求不合法,也不可能实现。然后他打出了爱国牌,称工厂满足了“美国军方、汽车工业、航空航天工业和半导体工业中相当多的含氟聚合物需求,否则各方都会缺少原材料......从而被迫找中国或其他国家的供应商?!?

工业化学品的审批过程与药品不同,通常采用事后监管方式,有证据证明有害才会采取行动。2009年美国环保署批准生产GenX时,也担心毒性和“生物持久性”?;繁J鹨蠖虐疃钔獠馐?,包括对实验动物进行两年的长期接触测试。研究表明,大鼠在肝脏,胰腺和睾丸中出现肿瘤。杜邦公司对结果并不重视,称该结果“与人类健康风险评估无相关性”。

隶属美国化学理事会FluorCouncil在书面回应中表示,相关化学物质研究充分而且很安全?!盎谘芯拷峁?,结合其对环境和人体健康的潜在影响,FluoroCouncil成员生产的短链基于氟调聚物的产品不符合关注化学品标准?!?

但许多科学家不认同给出如此确定的结论。2015年,超过200名研究人员签署了“马德里声明”,主张对GenX和其他PFAS物质采取更仔细的检查,包括食品容器、消防泡沫和织物?;げ愕却罅坎?。

大部分研究表明,GenX不会长时间保留在哺乳动物体内,其生物蓄积性不是很强。但是如果GenX出现在水里,而人们每天都要喝水,对污染物的暴露程度就不一样。北卡罗来纳州立大学毒物学家简·霍平已开始研究威尔明顿居民可能接触GenX的情况。首先,她收集了自来水,她和团队还抽取血液和尿液样本分析。她提醒道,这项研究的目的并不是将GenX与疾病联系起来,而且科慕停止排放后已停止采样?!耙桓鲋匾侍馐?,这种化学物质会留在体内多久?即便我们找不到证据,也不意味着风险不存在。只能说明我们在科慕停止排放后五六个月才开始检测?!?

美国环保署已开始正式调查科慕是否遵守2009年的生产许可。一位发言人拒绝就调查情况发表评论。文章发表后,美国环保署计划5月召开全国会议,主要讨论州和地方政府如何处理PFAS污染物。今年夏天,美国环保署应发布GenX毒性值,从而为筛查污染物接触提供指导,但不是监管标准。因为GenX不在联邦政府的不受管制污染物监视清单上。

环境?;せ鹗紫噬羁蒲Ъ依聿榈隆さつ嵘硎?,普鲁伊特执掌下的环保署将GenX的监管责任推到各州,然而州政府缺乏足够人力或资金完成工作?!八孀湃嗣谴丛斐鋈找娓丛拥幕?,又隐藏起来,监管如何跟上?”他说?!肮钩蒅enX化学特性的物质进入环境之后同样会引发问题?!?

虽然共和党人普遍支持普鲁伊特和环保署所的调整,但GenX问题说明解决区域环境问题的重要性要超过党派之争。12月,特朗普任命担任美国环保署化学品安全和污染预防办公室主任的迈克尔·杜尔松已退出提名,原因是此前北卡罗来纳州两位共和党参议员理查德·伯尔和汤姆·提利斯对杜尔松曾担任行业顾问表示担忧,尤其是他曾为杜邦处理C8污染问题。如今该职位仍空缺。普鲁伊特的将来也不确定。

DuPont and Chemours each paid $335 million last year to settle the C8 lawsuits in and around Parkersburg, but MacRae insisted he wasn’t motivated by money. “I want what I can’t have, and that is what it was before DuPont and Chemours did what they’ve done.” His wife cries at night. His neighbors are filled with panic about what’s in their water now, and with paranoia about what was there for all the years prior. “All of this,” says MacRae, “has been caused by people who didn’t want an egg to stick to a pan.”

In a letter written April 27, 2018, that detailed the company’s $100 million plan for emissions controls, an attorney for Chemours expressed concern that what North Carolina really wanted was zero discharges, which he said would be both unlawful and impossible to achieve. Then, he played the Teflon-patriotism card: The plant supplies a “substantial percentage of the fluoropolymer needs of the U.S. military, the automobile industry, the aerospace industry, and the semiconductor industry—all of whom would otherwise confront severe shortages?…?and be forced to turn to suppliers from China or other foreign nations.”

Industrial chemicals go through a much different approval process than pharmaceuticals. They’re generally considered safe until proven hazardous. When the EPA approved the manufacture of GenX in 2009, the agency had concerns about its toxicity and its “bio-persistence.” It ordered DuPont to conduct additional testing, including a two-year test of laboratory animals to approximate long-term exposure. That research showed that rats developed tumors in the liver, pancreas, and testicles. DuPont downplayed the results and said they were “not considered relevant for human risk assessment.”

The FluoroCouncil, a section of the American Chemistry Council, said in a written response to questions that these chemicals are well-studied and safe. “Based on this research, the short-chain -fluorotelomer-based products manufactured by FluoroCouncil members do not meet criteria for chemicals of concern based on their environmental fate and potential for adverse health effects.”

But many scientists disagree that the science is so settled. In 2015 more than 200 researchers signed what has become known as the Madrid Statement, advocating closer scrutiny of GenX and other PFAS substances, which are in a wide range of products including food containers, firefighting foams, and fabric protectors.

Much of the existing research suggests GenX doesn’t remain in mammals for a long time. It isn’t particularly bio-accumulative. But if GenX is in the water, something a person might use every day, then the exposure to the contaminant could be different. Jane Hoppin, a toxicologist at N.C. State University, has begun a study of Wilmington residents and their potential exposure to GenX. First she sampled people’s tap water. She and her team also took blood and urine samples for analysis. She cautioned that hers is not a study designed to link GenX to illness and that the sampling took place after Chemours had stopped its discharges. “One of the huge questions is, How long does this chemical stay in the body? If we don’t find something, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t there. It means we got going five or six months after they turned off the source.”

The EPA has opened a formal investigation into whether Chemours is in compliance with the terms of the 2009 consent order. An agency spokesperson declined to comment on its status. The EPA was scheduled to hold a national conference in May, after this article went to press, on PFAS contaminants for state and local governments. This summer the EPA is supposed to release toxicity values for GenX. These can guide screening levels for exposure, but they aren’t regulatory standards. GenX is not on the federal government’s watch list of unregulated contaminants.

Richard Denison, the lead senior scientist with the Environmental Defense Fund, said that the EPA under Pruitt has pushed regulatory responsibilities on GenX to the states, which lack sufficient personnel or funding to do the job properly. “As we innovate increasingly sophisticated chemicals that are shrouded in secrecy, how do we keep up?” he says. “The chemical properties that impart GenX’s functionality are the same things that create problems when it gets down into the environment.”

While Republicans have generally supported Pruitt and the changes he’s made at the EPA, GenX has proved that regional environmental issues often outweigh party affiliation. Michael Dourson, President Trump’s appointee to head the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, withdrew his nomination in December after North Carolina’s two Republican senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, voiced concern about Dourson’s record as an industry consultant, including work for DuPont on C8. The position is still vacant. Pruitt’s own future is also uncertain.

北卡罗来纳87号公路边的抗议者,就在科慕工厂入口。Jeremy Lange for Fortune

今春晴朗的一天,我在威尔明顿租了一艘皮划艇,开车经过纸浆厂和屠宰场,到科慕工厂正下方的William O. Huske 船闸和大坝。我把皮艇放在河里开始逆流而上??辗贫悠轿劝簿驳亓魈首?。水位很高,淹没了科慕工厂的排水管。我划了很远,终于找到科慕从河里抽水的巨大管道。我能听到工厂的声音,但几乎完全隐藏在树林里。

我想起特氟龙,还有FluoroCouncil会长杰西卡·伯曼写的“马德里声明”回应摘录?!癙FAS化学的重要性,”她写道,“早已由市场决定?!比肥等绱?。其实每个人都与特氟龙及其衍生物都有联系。特氟龙在父亲体内的支架上,保证血管通畅。特氟龙在雨衣防水材料Gore-Tex中,保持身体干燥。特氟龙在水管工的胶带上,密封住洗碗机上泄漏的阀。我开始思考万亿分之140的实际含义,相当于奥运会标准游泳池里放上140滴水。

一周后我参加了一个论坛,霍平、纳普和另一位同事讨论了从威尔明顿居民住宅抽取水样的结果。尽管浓度均低于健康指引水平,但大多数都含有GenX。

可以想象,事情可能会反转,GenX不是C8的替代化学物,对居民不再形成威胁,也不会影响科慕的底线。但我想GenX排放已持续30多年。今天的水跟一年前、五年前,甚至20年前早已不是一回事。

会议结束之前,每个人都想找出一个答案。研究人员现在愿意喝下这里未经过滤的自来水吗?科学家们几乎毫不犹豫:不,不,绝不。(财富中文网)

原文发表于2018年6月1日出版的《财富》杂志。

译者:Pessy

审校:夏林

One sunny day this spring, I rented a kayak in Wilmington and drove up past the pulp mill and the slaughterhouse to the William O. Huske Lock and Dam just below the Chemours factory. I put the kayak in the river and started paddling upstream. The Cape Fear was flat and quiet. The water was high, and the Chemours discharge pipe was submerged and invisible. I paddled farther and eventually came to the large tubes where the company draws water from the river. I could hear the factory, but it was all but lost beyond the trees.

I was thinking about Teflon and about a snippet of a response to the Madrid Statement written by Jessica Bowman, who is the president of the FluoroCouncil. “The importance of PFAS chemistry,” she wrote, “was long ago determined by the market.” Which was true. Everybody I talked with had a connection to Teflon and its progeny. It was in their father’s stent, keeping him alive. Or it was in the Gore-Tex on their rain jacket, keeping them dry. It was in the plumber’s tape that sealed the leaking valve on my dishwasher. I thought about what 140 parts per trillion actually means, which is this: 140 drops of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

A week later I attended a forum where Hoppin, Knappe, and another colleague discussed the results of the water samples drawn from homes in Wilmington. Most had some GenX, although all the concentrations were below the advisory levels.

It was possible to imagine that the whole thing might blow over, that GenX was not the son of C8 and was no longer a threat to residents or to Chemours’s bottom line. But then I remembered that the release of GenX went on for more than 30 years. What’s in the water today is not what was there a year ago, or five, or 20.

Before the meeting broke up, there was one question everybody wanted answered. Would these researchers drink the city’s unfiltered tap water today? There was little hesitation from the scientists before answering: No, no, and no.

This article originally appeared in the June 1, 2018 issue of Fortune.

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