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DuPont Faces Class-Action Suit On Teflon

Jan 1, 2002 | www.thestandard.com.hk

While mass panic in China over DuPont's Teflon-coated cookware lifts sales of iron woks and ceramic rice cookers, some non-stick cookware-makers in Guangdong are planning a class-action suit against the United States giant for losses.

Elecpro Electrical Appliance, a potmaker in Guangdong's Foshan city, says it will seek US$10 million (HK$78 million) compensation from DuPont if Teflon, which contains perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, proves to be hazardous to humans.

According to the Guangzhou-based Nanfang Daily, Elecpro manager Zhang Debiao urged other cookware producers who use Teflon to join the class action.

Millions of Chinese consumers have dumped Teflon-coated products and returned to traditional clay or iron cookware in the wake of news reports in July that claimed the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had alleged DuPont had failed to report potential risks of PFOA. Zhang said the company has suspended work on a new US$20 million Teflon cookware production line because of poor sales.

DuPont had received no claims from mainland clients and so far none have scrapped purchase contracts, the company's Hong Kong spokeswoman Olivia Chan said on Friday. ``It is their commercial decision if they stop production,'' she said. ``DuPont has confidence in its products. Our products are safe.''

Chan said the firm will formally respond to allegations about Teflon in August. An official with the China Consumers' Association, asked to comment on the controversy, said: ``We are concerned about it.''


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