Teflon , C8 Have Manhattan Project Legacy

Updated 6 years ago by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter

Geoffrey Sea, executive director of Neighbors for an Ohio Valley Alternative, leads an organization that encompasses Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia that has opposed the Portsmouth Centrifuge Project and strongly advocates that the Department of Energy clean up nuclear waste produced by plants that developed nuclear weapons.

Cincinnati, Ohio attorneys in October filed federal suits alleging that exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8 has links to kidney cancer, testicular cancer and thyroid disease. DuPont’s Parkersburg, WV plant uses C8 to make Teflon, an ingredient  used for cookware, clothing and space age products.

However, the suits allege that DuPont knowingly contaminated drinking water supplies during production of the chemical.

Sea writes, “Advertising gave Teflon a clean space-age reputation but the reality for anyone who knew the plant and its history was ugly.”

Actually, the DuPont Plant’s Teflon production goes back to the Manhattan Project.

“Practically nobody knows WHY the teflon plant was located where it is, because that reason was for decades a classified national secret. Teflon was actually a product of the Manhattan Project, developed for use in gaseous diffusion barriers used in uranium enrichment,” Sea wrote.

“The Teflon plant near Parkersburg served the gaseous diffusion plant at Piketon and was connected to the INCO Nickel plant that recycled diffusion barriers at Huntington. All three sites are now toxic chemical nightmares,” he continues.

Ironically, the Teflon complaints fall closely on radar to the 35th Anniversary of the Love Canal environmental crisis in Buffalo, NY, which led to the creation of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice.  A 1977 blizzard with 25 foot snow drifts led to melting in groundwater which mixed with chemicals seeping from drums.

Although Love Canal has been taken off “superfund” sites after its clean-up, acres of abandoned houses remained fenced off. And, in January 2011, a routine sewer inspection found (in the words of Newsweek Magazine) “toxic chemicals some so caustic that they disintegrated the shoe laces” of a worker.


The Metropolitan Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon St, Boston, MA, on Nov. 14 from 6-8:30 p.m. hosts the premiere showing of "A Fierce Green Fire" (Love Canal segment) which is part of the Awakening the Nation to Toxic Threats series.

About the Love Canal Anniversary

The words Love Canal are synonymous with the dangers from environmental chemicals, public health impacts and environmental devastation. Many people may not know the history of Love Canal but the significance of these words is powerful and the legacy of this crisis everlasting.

After Love Canal, Lois Gibbs, the mother of an afflicted child,  founded the Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ). Through training, coalition-building and one-on-one technical and organizing assistance, CHEJ works to level the playing field so that people can have a say in the environmental policies and decisions that affect their health and well-being. For more than three decades CHEJ has helped over 12,000 communities facing health threats from chemical harm.

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