Petitioners Say No To PFOAs - - The News for South Mississippi

Petitioners Say No To PFOAs

Paula Tolleson hesitates to call herself an activist, but she is taking action. Tolleson marched down Sherwood Drive Sunday afternoon passing out flyers to educate her neighbors about a chemical called PFOA - something used in the manufacture of Teflon materials.    

"I'm mostly concerned about the lack of information the city has given to the citizens, and I think they need to know about the PFOA that DuPont is bringing here," Tolleson says.   

DuPont's First Chemical Plant in Pascagoula is about to begin cleaning PFOAs out of another chemical made in New Jersey. The leftover PFOAs will be discharged into the city water system, and that worries Tollenson.               

"It's in seepage. All sewer systems seep in the ground. Our water for the city of Pascagoula is groundwater," she says.               

Environmental groups have linked PFOAs to cancer in lab animals. But First Chemical Environmental Specialist Donald Scharr told me there is no known health impact on people, and First Chemical has all the proper permits needed for this job. That does little to reassure Paula Tolleson or some of the people she convinced to sign her petition.               

"I don't like the filthy water," Pascagoula resident Margaret Mack says. "I drink a lot of bottled water. I've got a filter on the refrigerators."               

Tolleson hopes Pascagoula leaders will take her petition seriously, and find a way to prevent dumping more waste into the city's water system.   

"Yes, they will reduce the PFOA up in New Jersey, but Pascagoula, Mississippi is left with the PFOA. We get the waste," Tolleson says.      

Tuesday night, Tolleson will take her petitions to the City Council in Pascagoula.  Concerned citizens are expected to ask city leaders to change the city's sewer ordinance to prohibit PFOA discharges.

Councilman Robert Belcher told WLOX he doesn't expect there to be a vote this Tuesday. The council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall.     

By Keli Rabon                

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