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Du Pont Chemical Company

Essay by 24  •  November 11, 2010  •  1,125 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,278 Views

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DuPont is an extremely large corporation that produces chemicals and uses chemicals to design and make materials that are used in a wide variety of industries. These chemicals and materials include the following: abrasives, additives, adhesives, building and construction materials, carpet and flooring products, cleaning products and chemicals, container resins, fabric, fibers, films, flocculants, fluoropolymers, food ingredients, fuel cell components, fungicides, herbicides, industrial chemicals, inoculants, insecticides, laminates, paints and coatings, plastics, polyimide, polymer ingredients/additives/modifiers, polymers, polyurethanes, printed circuit materials, protective apparel/fibers/fabric, quality assurance tools, and specialty chemicals and grains. These products are used in the following industries: aerospace and aircraft, agriculture, apparel and textile, automotive, biotechnology, chemical and petrochemical, construction and architecture, consumer goods, electrical and electronics, food and nutrition, health care and medical, industrial and manufacturing, marine and rail transportation, military and law enforcement, packaging, plastics and elastomers, printing and publishing, pulp and paper, safety, and utilities and mining. Because DuPont is involved in just about any industry one could imagine, the corporation is made up of several, relatively smaller, companies whose plants and research centers are located all over the world; in North America, South America, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Pacific Asia, and Australia.

However, DuPont was not always as large as it is today. When it was founded in 1802, its only product was "black powder for guns and blasting." By 1900, it was a "leading manufacturer of high explosives" and had already started to look into manufacturing chemical products. The 20th century saw DuPont expand into a "global chemicals, materials, and energy company [that] deepened its commitment to scientific research. The company marketed auto pains, moisture-proof cellophane, neoprene synthetic rubber, safety glass, movie and x-ray films, Teflon fluoropolymers, and synthetic fibers evolving from its landmark discover of nylon." In this century, DuPont continues grow by developing and manufacturing new products.

Because of its involvement in so many industries, DuPont generates a considerable amount of revenue. Because some of this revenue is used to research and develop even more new, extremely useful, in-demand products, DuPont is a very reliable investment for people who buy stock. It is no wonder, then, that DuPont's closing price in the New York Stock Exchange on February 4, 2005 was $48.71, with a volume of 2,734,100 shares.

One specific DuPont product is Teflon. To make Teflon, DuPont uses a synthetic chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA. PFOA has numerous applications. It is used primarily to produce its salts, which are used to help process the production of fluoropolymers and fluoroelastomers. Fluoropolymers are used in many consumer products, such as stain-resistant coatings on textiles and carpets, non-stick coatings on cookware, as well as in the "automotive, mechanical, aerospace, chemical, electrical, medical, and construction industries." However, finished fluoropolymer and fluoroelastomer products do not contain PFOA. Yet, PFOA has found its way into the bloodstream of the general population. Currently, the EPA is looking into how this happened, as well as if PFOA is a risk to human health, and if DuPont should be held responsible. The EPA has already filed a claim against DuPont for allegedly withholding the "results of a human blood sampling that demonstrates levels of PFOA in individuals living near a DuPont facility in West Virginia." The blood sampling was a blood serum analysis performed in July 2004 of 12 members of the general population living near the facility. Each of the 12 individuals tested was exposed to PROA through drinking water provide by the Lubeck Public Service District where, according to DuPont, the level of PFOA in the drinking water has averaged about 0.5 ppb (parts per billion) over the last several years.

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