August 28, 2019 / 1:45 PM / 25 days ago

DuPont to stop buying firefighting foam made with controversial chemicals

(Reuters) - Industrial materials maker DuPont said on Wednesday it would stop buying and using firefighting foams made with a controversial class of chemicals, which are at the center of multiple environmental lawsuits, by the end of 2021.

The chemicals, which have been used for decades in products like Teflon and other non-stick products as well as firefighting foam, have contaminated water systems. Companies including DuPont, Dow Chemical and 3M have faced numerous lawsuits from people exposed to the chemicals in their water supply.

Dupont said it would stop buying or using all firefighting foams made with polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), by the end of 2021.

It will also stop the use of long-chain PFAS, which have carbon chains of 8 or higher, in some of the units that the company acquired as part of legacy Dow business that continued to use a small amount PFOS and PFOA granted through an EPA exemption.

Dow and DuPont merged in 2017 in a $130 billion merger and later split into three separate business units - Dow, DuPont and Corteva Agriscience.

Dupont, which does not directly manufacture or sell firefighting foam, said it was actively looking for alternatives to PFAS in its manufacturing processes.

Reporting by Shariq Khan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty

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