PITTSBURGH, PA — The United Steelworkers (USW) launched a new website today that reveals facts about DuPont’s record on health and safety at the plants and communities in which it operates. Located at www.DuPontSafetyRevealed.org, the website features an interactive “Toxic Map” that pinpoints where the chemical giant may be putting communities at risk of chemical exposure.
The website carries the following statement from the union: “When it comes to the health and safety of workers and communities, DuPont can talk the talk, but can it walk the walk? With slick public relations campaigns and questionable safety and health awards, DuPont has created an image as ‘one of the safest companies in the world.’ Behind the propaganda façade, though, lurks an atrocious and shocking record of pollution, community sickness and worker hazards.”
The website includes a comprehensive report, “Not Walking the Talk: DuPont’s Untold Safety Failures,” which criticizes DuPont’s behavior-based safety program, “DuPont STOP,” for blaming workers for on-the-job accidents and encouraging a system of non-reporting of worker injuries. The website lists DuPont customers who use STOP, including General Motors, ExxonMobil, Department of Energy, Los Angeles County MTA, New York MTA, NASA and American Airlines.
The report also includes detailed information on DuPont’s health, safety and environmental violations, which, according to the USW, shows that DuPont’s violations are not just isolated incidents of worker failure, but are a clear pattern of abuse and a denial of responsibility.
After DuPont settled for $108 million with Parkersburg, W. Va., residents – they unknowingly drank water contaminated with the Teflon-related chemical, PFOA, that originated from a nearby DuPont facility – the USW recognized a need for a user-friendly website that gives easy access to key safety and health information.
The Environmental Protection Agency levied its largest ever civil administration penalty of $16.5 million against DuPont last December over the company’s failure to supply the federal agency with information, including its knowledge about the contamination of Parkersburg drinking water.
The USW believes everyone who is at risk – workers, citizens and consumers around the world – has a right to know about chemicals and safety problems at DuPont. The Toxic Map allows anyone to see which DuPont plant is in their area and what hazards their families and communities may encounter. This gives the public the tools to research the chemicals in their backyard on their own, instead of relying on the information of company officials or the local plant manager.
The USW has been a vocal critic of DuPont’s safety practices. The union was the only public critic when it condemned DuPont’s attempt to gain a Department of Energy contract to manage the cleanup of nuclear waste at the Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C. The union said the company had run the facility unsafely for nearly 40 years. Last month DuPont announced it would no longer bid for the contract.
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America with 850,000 members, and it represents 1,800 DuPont workers at six plants.