From the Desk of Tom Kinisky

President and CEO of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics


 

Learn more about the actions Saint-Gobain is taking in North Bennington to provide safe drinking water for the community.

 
 

Frequently Asked Questions


 

Q: WHAT IS PFOA?

PFOA is short for perfluorooctanoic acid and is a synthetic chemical compound. Historically, PFOA was found in small amounts in the raw material of another compound, called PTFE, supplied to Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics by other companies.  

 

Q: WHAT IS PTFE?

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) is a synthetic resin. PTFE is found in many consumer products such as non-stick pan coatings, waterproof clothing, and sprays that repel stains from fabrics and carpeting.  It is also a critical component in such items as airplane wiring and cell phone tower circuitry.

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics never manufactured PFOA or PTFE at any of its locations.  We purchased PTFE from suppliers to manufacture products for various industries, including aerospace, automotive and electronics.

 

Q: I see levels for pfoa listed as ppt. what does this mean?

This stands for "parts per trillion" and is commonly noted as ppt. It is a term to describe contaminants in the environment.  A ppt measures the concentration of the amount of one material in a larger amount of another material. For context, one ppt is the equivalent of one drop of water in 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools. Or, 1 second in nearly 32,000 years.

 

Q: I'm reading about two companies in the news - saint-gobain and chemfab. What is the difference here?

In 2000, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics acquired the Chemfab plant in North Bennington.  The facility was closed in 2002. Even before Saint-Gobain purchased Chemfab, the facility used PTFE, but the Performance Plastics business purchased PTFE during the two-year period of operation for use in manufacturing tapes for the aerospace, automotive and electronics industries, among others. Saint-Gobain has never manufactured PFOA or PTFE.

 

Q: HOW IS SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS WORKING WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS AND RESIDENTS OF NORTH BENNINGTON?

Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics is paying for bottled water and point-of-entry (POET) filtration systems for the wells that tested above the state limit of 20ppt for PFOA.  We also agreed to conduct soil sampling and testing at designated locations within a 1.5 mile radius of the former Chemfab facility. While the source or sources of the elevated levels of PFOA have not yet been determined, the company is also developing a site investigation plan for the former plant, and paying to help the Department of Environmental Conservation with its investigation.

 

Q: WHAT DOES THE SAINT-GOBAIN PERFORMANCE PLASTICS PLANT IN NORTH BENNINGTON MAKE?

This plant was part of our Performance Plastics business and made coated fabrics for use in a range of industrial applications, including the aerospace, automotive and electronics industries, among others. The site was acquired by Saint-Gobain in 2000 and the plant closed in 2002.

 

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation regularly updates its page with information of note, including the latest from North Bennington. Please find the page by clicking the link.

BENNINGTON TOWN MANAGER STUART A. HURD WRITES ON PFOA

In his regular column All About Town,  Hurd discusses the steps the town is taking with Saint-Gobain to provide long-term solutions to the community of North Bennington.

 

EPA PFOA FACT SHEET

Click here to download a fact sheet on PFOA from the EPA.

What is a Point-of-ENTRY System?

Learn more about point-of-entry (POET) systems, including what they are and how they work.