On Channel 4 News a senior ExxonMobil lobbyist, captured on camera by Greenpeace UK’s Unearthed, has claimed that the company “manufactures” and “uses” controversial so-called “forever chemicals” and is working to delay a ban on their use.
He further claims that:
- ExxonMobil “manufactures PFAS”, so-called “forever chemicals”, which independent research has linked to cancer, hormone disruption and weakened immunity.
The company categorically denies that they manufacture “forever chemicals”.
- He secretly and successfully used a third-party organisation to persuade politicians not to debate the rules around the manufacturing of PFAS.
Greenpeace Unearthed, the journalism unit of the environmental campaign group Greenpeace UK, posed as head-hunters looking to hire a Washington D.C. lobbyist for a major client. They approached Mr McCoy, who agreed to speak over Zoom.
During the virtual meeting held on 7 May, the reporter asked Mr McCoy questions about his involvement in ExxonMobil’s current and historical lobbying on environmental issues.
In the covertly recorded conversation, Mr McCoy claimed the oil and gas giant is involved in manufacturing PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) – so-called “forever chemicals”.
Asked if people know that ExxonMobil manufactures PFAS chemicals, he said: “No. No. Nobody.”
He added: “The debate isn’t who makes it. I think the debate is, it’s here. It’s an effective chemical. We need this chemical, or we have needed this chemical… how can we safely use it or eliminate it.
“There isn’t the debate right now about who manufactures it, thankfully.”
Asked how much money the company makes from the chemical, he said: “I mean it’s not a big business, for a company (of) ExxonMobil’s size it’s probably a few hundred million which isn’t big, but it’s enough that it gets our attention.”
On the debate around forever chemicals, Mr McCoy said: “You know, the debate right now is forever chemicals. So, once it’s in the waterway, er, you know, there’s no cleaning it up. So, I mean there has to be that component as well as, as how, how can you get it out of the waterways.”
A report published in May by eight non-profit organisations, including CHEM Trust, showed that forever chemicals’ PFAS are present in disposable food packaging and tableware used by popular fast food chains and takeaway restaurants across Europe.