How a major chemical company is moving into the future while reckoning with a dangerous legacy

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On this week’s episode of Fortune‘s Leadership Next podcast, co-host Alan Murray speaks with Mark Newman, the CEO and president of Chemours (No. 502 on the 2022 Fortune 1000). They discuss the chemical company’s commitment to righting its environmental wrongs; its continued investment in Teflon, one of many chemicals known as PFAS that have been linked to serious health problems; and how the company will help deal with climate change.

Later, co-host Ellen McGirt continues the conversation about PFAS with Dr. Maria Doa, the Environmental Defense Fund’s senior director of chemicals policy. Doa explains why “health and safety and a green economy are not mutually exclusive.”

Listen to the episode or read the full transcript below. 


Alan Murray: Leadership Next is powered by the folks at Deloitte, who, like me, are super focused on how CEOs can lead in the context of disruption and evolving societal expectations.

Welcome to Leadership Next, the podcast about the changing rules of business leadership. I’m Alan Murray, and I’m here with my favorite co-host, Ellen McGirt. Ellen. Good to see you.

Ellen McGirt: You’re my favorite co-host too, Alan. Good to see you. It’s good to be here. And I am really interested in today’s interview. It’s with Mark Newman, the CEO of the chemical company Chemours. I couldn’t make it to this one, which was really a bummer, because I had a bunch of questions for Mark. You will hear me on the B-side of this, however, but I’m confident that you’ve covered a lot of ground. 

Murray: Yeah, it’s a fascinating company, Ellen. Chemours spun out from DuPont in 2015. It produces a lot of different chemicals. It’s probably best known for producing Teflon, that chemical coating that’s mostly associated with nonstick surfaces on pots and pans. But it’s also used to waterproof clothing, to make car paint nice and shiny, fortify solar panels. It has in the past sometimes has been thought of as an environmental problem, but the interesting thing about Chemours, that we’ll find out in this episode, is they’ve really shifted to focusing more on environmental and climate solutions.

McGirt: Yes, I’m interested in learning more about that. Teflon, of course, is also the great metaphor of choice for our politicians who never get caught, never get into trouble. So it’s really a useful tool. I am really curious about how Chemours goes about producing these chemicals. As some of our audience may know, Teflon is considered a polyfluoroalkyl substance, and I just struggled to learn how to pronounce that word. Polyfluoroalkyl substances are better known as PFAS—spelled P F A S—and they’re a class of chemicals considered forever chemicals, meaning they don’t break down in the environment. And of course, the ingestion of PFAS either directly or through contaminated water has been linked to some pretty serious stuff like cancers or other health problems. Now I know that Chemours is continuing to invest in PFAS, and I also know that they think they can do so responsibly. Did you get a chance to talk to him about that?

Murray: Yeah, I did, Ellen, and I think you’ll be impressed with what he had to say. Mark is actually only the second CEO of Chemours. He took over in 2021. And since then, he has personally been very vocal about the company’s commitment to both righting its past environmental wrongs and playing a productive role in dealing with climate change. We spent a lot of time talking about that, about how it will transition to becoming a clean company without avoiding public charges of greenwashing. This is the type of purposeful but difficult leadership through transition that made Mark such an interesting Leadership Next guest.

McGirt: I agree, and it’s important to dive right into these really tough subjects. So I’m going in with an open mind even though I’m always on the proverbial ledge. But I also want to learn about PFAS in general—their uses, their impact, and how they can be deployed safely. So later in this episode, I’m going to talk with Dr. Maria Doa, the senior director of chemicals policy at the Environmental Defense Fund, and try to get my questions answered.

Murray: I’m looking forward to hearing from Dr. Doa, Ellen, and I’m looking forward to you hearing from Mark. So without any further ado, here is the conversation with Mark Newman of Chemours.

Mark, thank you so much for being here and having this conversation.

Mark Newman: Alan, great to be here today. Love talking to you.

Murray: I’ve been really looking forward to this, because you run a chemical company, a chemical company that makes products that have in the past been accused of despoiling the environment, but you are clearly committed to making it a company that helps solve our environmental problems. And I want to spend some time talking about what that transition looks like and how you communicate it to people and avoid charges of greenwashing. All of those things. But before I do any of that, tell us what Chemours is and where it came from.

Newman: Okay, well, Chemours is a chemistry company. Chemours is 6,600 employees strong. We’re about $7 billion in revenue. About 4,400 of our employees are here in the U.S., the rest global, and we have three industry leading businesses. Our largest is Titanium Technologies. Think titanium dioxide that goes into coatings and laminates and plastics. Our Thermal and Specialized Solutions are really focused on sustainable energy or thermal management. And then our Advanced Performance Materials or fluoropolymers, as they’re sometimes called, is really focused on a lot of very high-value end-use applications. 

I want to start though, by talking about our vision, because I think this is what’s exciting and energizing our employees. Our vision is that together, we create a better world through the power of our chemistry. And so our fundamental belief is we can make the world better as a result of Chemours products, our people, and how we run our operations. And that inherently, sustainability is a key aspect to our corporate strategy. So in our TiO2 business, our goal is to be the most sustainable Tio2 business in the world. And we just recently launched a product which, for plastic manufacturers, will reduce their energy cost or energy usage by 6%. This is sort of a new grade that we just introduced. In our thermal management business, we’re driving much lower global warming potential in our refrigerants. We’re driving a lot of work-around energy efficiency, whether that’s in heat pumps to replace fossil fuels, or heat pumps in electric vehicles to improve battery range. And then finally, I mean, in our advanced performance materials business, our products are being used currently in a wide array of products, including your mobile phone. But we are going to enable higher speeds in data, which is great for commerce and national security. We are enabling EVs. I was just talking to you about some of the advances in in EV battery technology, which our chemistry is supporting. And then finally, the whole energy transition or energy diversification with hydrogen, our Nafion membrane is at the center of an electrolyzer that makes hydrogen from renewable electricity, but also in a fuel cell that converts that hydrogen back to electricity for mobility or other industrial uses.

Murray: And I want to go into all of those, I particularly want to go into Nafion and the promise of hydrogen as an answer to our climate and global warming problems. But allow me just to go back for a minute, because Chemours was born out of DuPont. 

Newman: Correct.

Murray: Spun out in?

Newman: 2015. So we’re seven years old. 

Murray: Prior to that time, before you got there, products like Freon were accused of contributing to the degradation of the ozone environment, Teflon was forever chemicals, these things that are going be around forever. There were a lot of complaints about their effect on the environment. And some people still say that all everything you’re talking about is just greenwashing. You’re just trying to make up for the sins of the past. And we’ll go into the detail of what you’re doing. But just broadly speaking, how do you respond to that? 

Newman: Yeah, clearly there are legacy issues, some of which, as you said, predates the formation of the company. And we are addressing those legacy issues, you know, in the communities in which we operate. But we’re very focused on this is not about greenwashing. In fact, it’s about sustainability in both the products that we make and how we make them. So, for example, we have committed that the majority of our products by revenue, will contribute to UN sustainability development goals. We are, as of last year, about very close to 50%. We’ll be beyond that this year, with the growth that we see in Nafion membranes and low global warming refrigerants. And so yes, you know, there is a history of these products, you know, not being as sustainable as they are today. That’s history. And, in fact, you know, to your comment on Freon, that was, you know, that was phased out under the Montreal Protocol, you know, which was in the 1990s. So that’s not recent history. But yes, it’s part of the legacy of, these are products that are now much more sustainable.

Murray: Does it frustrate you that you still have to live with that legacy?

Newman: It does, to be honest. One of the frustrating things, though, that you mentioned, is that the whole discussion on fluorine chemistry, there’s two big elements that are missing, and you touched on one already. The first is, a lot of the issues we’re discussing today have to do how with how the products were made or used decades ago. Let’s put it in the context of, we all want to get better, and there were things in the past that were less than where we are today. That’s one. The second is quite often, especially with fluoropolymers, people think this is an issue about Teflon frying pans, because that’s what they remember, this is what they associate the brand with. But without without fluoropolymers, you won’t have a U.S. semicon industry. We make a fluoropolymer called PFA, the acronym, where we’re the only U.S. producer of this product. And we’re one of two or three in the world that make a high purity PFA, which is needed for the latest semicon fabs. As I mentioned, our fluoropolymers are in anode and cathodes in EV batteries. Your mobile phone doesn’t work without fluoropolymers. High-speed data doesn’t happen without fluoropolymers. In fact, in fluorochemicals, we’re working on immersion cooling, where we can immerse the entire server in a cooling fluid to reduce the energy load of data centers. So, so listen, I think when we think of the next economy, you know, a lot of talk in the last week about A.I. A.I. is about high-speed data. That’s fluoropolymers. A lot of talk about national security. That’s high-speed data. I mean, so you just think about how trivialized we’ve made the discussion about pots and pans. It’s not about pots and pans, it’s about the future economy.

Murray: So, let me ask you, you’ve already given a number of examples of products that Chemours is making that you believe will help us solve our climate problem or environmental problem. We talked about EVs, the important role you have in EVS. We talked about carbon-friendly refrigerants. We talked about Nafion, the membrane that helps make hydrogen fuel. And there’s so many I don’t know, it’s so exciting. There are too many to go after. Tell me the one that excites you most? Yeah, you have to pick among your children.

Newman: Well, let me just say where I’ve spent the most time recently, in the last year. And if you look at the headlines over Chemours, it is on hydrogen. And why is that? Because there are a lot of scientists who believe there’s no path to net zero without hydrogen. So we as a company have committed to a 60% greenhouse gas reduction, absolute reduction by 2030. But we know the path to net zero is going to be a lot more difficult, from the 60% to net zero. Hydrogen, as an industrial energy source offers a lot of potential. And you know, I think there was a study by McKinsey that through 2050, 80 gigatons of CO2 will be eliminated through hydrogen. 

Murray: If we succeed. 

Newman: If we succeed. By the way, we are a big part of the supply chain that needs to grow. And so you’ll know we’re investing to grow our Nafion membrane capacity significantly.

Murray: Yeah, so talk about the Nafion membrane. Then what is it that your product does to make hydrogen fuel closer to a reality? Because the truth is, it is not a commercially viable fuel at the moment, right?

Newman: At the moment, although I would say the Inflation Reduction Act stimulus will, I think, lead to a lot of development. That the subsidy or the tax incentives in the bill will really you know, bring a lot of hydrogen capacity and bring scale to the industry that will make it more cost competitive. The Nafion membrane, first of all, these are membranes that are about the width of a human hair. They sit between two electrodes usually run at, you know, 880 volts. So these are high-voltage electrodes converting water to hydrogen and oxygen. Right. And so the benefit of our membrane is—and again, because it’s a fluoropolymer—it can withstand heat, it is non-conductive, but it allows protons to flow across the membrane as you split the water molecule into hydrogen and oxygen. So we are working mainly on two things. How can we reduce the ohmic loss in the electrolyte, so across our membrane, one, and how can we significantly improve durability? The other thing we’re working on, obviously, for the electrolyzer manufacturers is the cost of manufacturing.

Murray: If we successfully make this transition, and if hydrogen is an important part of the solution, don’t these membranes become like semiconductors? They become core to the new economy. 

Newman: We like to say we’re at the heart of the hydrogen economy.

Murray: Yeah. So explain, explain to me why hydrogen is so important to the climate solution, like where is this? Once you crack the economics, you make it inexpensive enough to be commercially viable. What problems is it going to solve for us? Where’s it going to be used first?

Newman: I believe there are significant applications in industry, right, where you have large consumption of energy. And in fact… 

Murray: Natural gas first.

Newman: Exactly. In fact, we were named as a participant in the ARCHES2 hydrogen hub application in West Virginia. And we’re already looking at how we rework our steam generation at our plants in West Virginia to incorporate up to 20% of hydrogen in the fuel source. So you take a natural gas boiler that’s used to make steam for process steam in the chemical industries, a big energy use. We believe we can convert those boilers to take as existing design with a slight modification, 20% of the fuel can be pure hydrogen, which has has no carbon signature to it. So I think this will aid the energy transition.

[Music starts]

Murray: I’m here with Joe Ucuzoglu, the CEO of Deloitte and the sponsor of this podcast for all of its seasons. Thank you for that, Joe. 

Joe Ucuzoglu: Thanks, Alan. Pleasure to be here. 

Murray: Joe, we all know that what gets measured gets managed. Folks like your colleagues at Deloitte have spent a century building up metrics to keep track of shareholder return. But how do we measure stakeholder return?

Ucuzoglu: This is still all about measuring attributes that do in fact drive shareholder value. Because over the long term, if you are driving indicators that represent value creation to your stakeholders, that will translate into premium returns to your shareholders. So what this is really about is lengthening our horizons. It’s a combination of quantitative and qualitative metrics. There’s an enormous amount of work to be done, but you’re seeing a real sense of urgency around this. 

Murray: I think that’s a really important point. That in the long term, over years, decades, the interests of shareholders and the interests of the stakeholders converge. But in the short term, they can often go in different directions. 

Ucuzoglu: They certainly can. But what you see is leading investors encouraging the companies they invest in to make certain that they are building and leading sustainable enterprises with the objective of maximizing shareholder value over a long time. 

Murray: Joe, thanks for being with us. 

Ucuzoglu: Alan, it’s a real pleasure.

[Music ends]

Murray: Let’s go to the battery challenge. We all know that’s a huge challenge. I mean, General Motors says it’s only going to make EVs by 2035. California has said they’re only going to let EVs on the road by 2035. Yeah, that’s a lot of batteries. What problem is Chemours solving for us there?

Newman: First of all, batteries are going to higher voltage and higher charge density. One of the virtues of fluoropolymers is their dielectric properties. And so the same properties that make it a great membrane make it a great electrical insulator. So if you have cables to enable high speed charging, you’re going to need a fluoropolymer to deal with the heat and the electrical load in those circuits. The performance of the electric car is is all about how well the motor works and how well the electrical infrastructure works. In fact, a lot of the work happening now in EVs is how do you make the electrical infrastructure more efficient so that you need less lithium—you can do with a smaller battery size? And then as I was mentioning to you earlier, we’re very involved in kind of the next generation of battery technology, which is a much more sustainable, lower cost, lower energy usage manufacture of the battery itself, in terms of our fluoropolymer being additives in the battery manufacturer. So we’re very involved in the ecosystem of an electric vehicle from start to finish.

Murray: You’ve already given us two very compelling cases that show what you are doing is real. It’s hard to accuse investments and actions of that size as being greenwashing. But but was there a point? When did you personally or how did Chemours and DuPont before it make the turn? When did you personally say, Hey, we’ve got to stop playing defense, which they spent a lot of time and money and lawyers etc, playing defense, we’ve got to stop playing defense and start playing offense on environmental problems. How did that transition happen?

Newman: Our company was formed, as I said earlier, in 2015. In 2018 we realized that, look, we have a lot of legacy that comes in terms of how we were formed. But where do we want to go going forward? And so in 2018 we came out with what we call our corporate responsibility commitments. In that commitment was a commitment around the products we were making, in terms of UN SDG goals [sustainable development goals], as well as this commitment to a greater than 99% reduction in fluorogenic compounds, and the 60% greenhouse gas reduction. So in 2018, it felt quite novel versus a lot of industry peers, but we felt like this is what we need to do. By the way, when you’re witnessing the impact of legacy decisions that weren’t sustainable, you have a deeper level of conviction of what you want to be going forward. 

Murray: And what you don’t want to be. 

Newman: Exactly, yeah. When I became CEO in 2021, I said, you know, the fact that we call them corporate responsibility commitments, it feels like they’re not integral to our strategy. We have the benefit of taking that foundation now and integrate it into this vision that we want to create a better world through the power of our chemistry.

Murray: And how has that decision changed your company?

Newman: I feel it’s, I feel it’s really struck a chord with our employees and with our customers. I genuinely feel that this is who we are and who we want to be. And it’s, it’s really driven a lot of enthusiasm and drive in the company, despite the fact that we’re still working on, as you said, you know, legacy issues related to how we were formed. And we’re also dealing with a challenge that there are a lot of narratives around fluorine chemistry, that are incomplete. 

Murray: But on the legacy issues, it doesn’t change the way when somebody says, Oh, but here’s something you’ve been doing for years and years that isn’t consistent with your new vision. What do you do about that?

Newman: We are working on past issues and addressing them community by community. And so we continue to live up to the commitments we’ve made around remediation as it relates to legacy issues. So we bring people back to say, we agreed to do this and we’re doing it. But look, we provide great jobs in this community and we provide a solution for a lot of future problems that we want here in America.

Murray: So, let’s talk a little bit about your personal story and how that shaped your leadership style. You grew up in Jamaica? 

Newman: Yes, I grew up on a farm in Jamaica. 

Murray: So what I mean, tell us how you got from growing up on a farm in Jamaica, to running this huge global chemical company? 

Newman: Well, it’s a long story, but I’ll keep it short. Listen, I grew up on a farm. I think growing up on a farm keeps you grounded, no pun intended. And I had the privilege, because of my mother being Canadian, to be educated in Canada, and ended up working for General Motors. They brought me to the U.S. And you know, my career with GM accelerated and eventually, I became a public company CFO, and was asked to join the Chemours team, when they were being spun out of DuPont in 2015, as the CFO. You know, I’ve always had this desire to lead, and I love leading. And and so, you know, when Mark Vergnano decided to retire, you know, I certainly was very interested in the prospect of leading Chemours. I felt like I was one of the founding fathers of a new company, and really had a lot of passion around what we could do with Chemours.

Murray: Big question: You’re much closer to the science than I am, or certainly than most people are. You understand where the technology is and where the technology isn’t. Are we on a path, in your view, to get to net zero by 2050? Is that a reasonable goal, given what you know about the technology?

Newman: So, I’d say truthfully, based on what we know today, the path to net zero beyond meaningful reductions in greenhouse gas is still a bit of a question mark. I think everyone realizes it’s the right aspiration to have, that we need to have this kind of aspiration.

Murray: I’m not sure it’s everyone. But we’re getting there.

Newman: I would say, yes, I would say most, maybe I would say most CEOs, yeah, as a group, realize that the future in terms of the climate, and our environmental signature needs to be better than it is today. And we need to find a path to get there as quickly and as sustainably as possible. So I believe in the power of chemistry, and I believe we will, you know, our history is full of human endeavor that, you know, to solve problems that then seemed unsolvable, but in hindsight, have been solved. Given the human condition, why do we believe that this somehow is an unsolvable problem?

Murray: So you’ve been CEO for a year and a half. Over that period, I would say, over the last three years, we’ve seen a huge increase in the number of CEOs who have committed to net zero 2050. And we’ve also seen CEOs thinking differently about their jobs and their responsibilities [inaudible]. It’s kind of the parallel to what you were saying about taking corporate social responsibility, which kind of sounds like something you keep in a side office and visit every once in a while to making it core to their strategies. Do you see that happening? And why do you think it’s happening? And will it continue to happen? And the last piece is, how do you deal with the political pushback, particularly here in the U.S., to that development?

Newman: Yeah. So I would say the first thing is, this is about creating a sustainable future, a sustainable future for the company, its employees and society at large. So I think if you look at it through that lens, that’s that’s a very helpful to say, is what we’re doing going to make the future better than it is today? And secondly, is it true to the values we espouse as a company? So quite often we say we test, you know, what we’re doing in the ESG arena to say, well, how does that align with the values that we talk about every day, in terms of the culture of the company? Because if they’re not able to feel very dissonant to employees. And I would say to the last part of your question, we try, or at least I try in my role as CEO, not to make this a platform for a quote-unquote social agenda. Because there are a lot of people using different aspects of the social agenda for different reasons. So, you know, whether it has to do with transgender rights or women’s reproductive rights, I think there’s a way of making the company open and available and safe for everyone, without necessarily using it to promote a social cause. And I think, as a CEO, I feel like you’re quite often put on the spot to promote a social cause. And quite frankly, I feel the, I believe, the core responsibility of a CEO is to say, am I doing the right thing for this company and for its stakeholders? And is is the way I’m approaching this issue consistent with that initiative or that goal? As well as the goal of being true to what you promote yourself to be?

Murray: Yeah, I think that’s very well put. Mark Newman, thanks so much for spending time talking to me. 

Newman: Thanks, Alan. Great to be here.


McGirt: Dr. Doa, thank you so much for being with us today. This is such a complicated chemical question. So you’re the perfect person to help us sort it out. Can we start by just understanding a little bit about what you’re doing at EDF?

Maria Doa: I’m working on more responsible use of chemicals and reducing exposures and risks to chemicals, exposures to all of us. And importantly, exposures to those vulnerable, those who are living near facilities that have higher exposure to chemicals, and those that are more susceptible to chemicals such as pregnant women, children, the elderly.

McGirt: Let’s break it down for our listeners, because it gets, as I mentioned, pretty complicated pretty quickly. What is a working definition of PFAS that the average person could understand and where do we find them? What products do we find them in?

Doa: Well, PFAS are a group of related widely-used, very long-lasting synthetic chemicals. That means they’re manmade. They’re appropriately called forever chemicals, because they last for so long in the environment and are very difficult to destroy. Also, many PFAS can accumulate and last a long time in humans. Some, for years. And they have many characteristics that make them useful in products, and they’re used in many things from nonstick cookware, waterproofing for clothing, stain resistance for furniture. They’re also used in firefighting foam.

McGirt: So they’re useful, they’re popular, they’re a competitive advantage in business. So I can see why they’re everywhere now. But what impact do they have on people and the environment?

Doa: Because of their widespread use, and because of their persistence in the environment, they’re found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and throughout the environment. For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found that PFAS are in the blood of 97% of Americans, which is very unusual for chemicals to be that high.

McGirt: So what does it mean that they’re in our bodies? That they’re around us? What are the impacts?

Doa: Many PFAS have been identified to cause harmful effects, particularly if you’re exposed to them over a long period of time or exposed during certain critical life stages, like during pregnancy and in developing babies. So in addition, they may increase the risk of some cancers such as kidney and testicular cancer, and they can damage the liver.

McGirt: I think what Chemours’ big argument is, is that all the problems with these chemicals are in the past. Can PFAS in your understanding ever be manufactured safely and responsibly?

Doa: Well, first of all, it’s not all in the past. And many of these PFAS are still being used. Chemours, for example, switched from a PFAS known as PFOA, which is hugely problematic, and we’re still dealing with that, into another PFAS called GenX, which they marketed as a replacement for PFOA. I think the issue of whether they can be manufactured responsibly, there’s a lot of history that shows it’s very difficult to do that given the widespread contamination and some of it related to the manufacturing of these PFAS or the use of these PFAS, such as in the manufacture of plastics. So I think the issue is what’s needed is innovation. And innovative companies take a fresher, broader look at what chemicals can meet the needs of their customers, rather than moving from one PFAS to another, and those that move from the earlier PFAS to other substitutes, simply made changes around the edges, and just have to introduce other problematic chemicals, as I just mentioned with PFOA and GenX.

McGirt: We’re suddenly hearing about PFAS everywhere. Forever chemicals is a really powerful way to frame what they are in the imagination of the public, too. Why do you think we’re suddenly hearing so much about this? And what should the public know about how to think about regulating their use?

Doa: Well, I think we hear so much about them because we’re finding them everywhere, you know, including people. And so you can be exposed not to just one or two but multiple. And of course, as you said, I mean they’re they just last so long in the environment. Even in the environment, it’s a little bit of a whack-a-mole, they move from like, soil to groundwater, it’s just hard to clean them up. So that’s why I think we’re hearing so much about them. And also because we as a society are spending a lot of money to clean them up more so than for other chemicals. And these costs are being socialized across, you know, society. 

McGirt: And it’s also I’m struck with the poignancy of this, you know—I’ll give you an example just from Chemours. They manufacture chemicals that are going to be used in EV batteries. You know, I’ve mentioned the fluoropolymer membranes. And it just sort of strikes me is that we want an electric vehicle future. You know, we want to have a future that contributes to getting off carbon painlessly and efficiently and in time to save the planet. If you’re using problematic chemicals to do it, it just feels like such a poignant trade off. How can we think about that?

Doa: Well, I don’t think that health and safety and moving to a greener economy are mutually exclusive. You can certainly do, you can do that. And to the extent that something is, you know, a critical use where it is needed, like for EV batteries, and there are no good substitutes, and when I mean, good substitutes, I mean, there’s not something that can do the same job, say for a reasonable, a reasonable cost, not that it’s just critical in my bottom line. But you know, to that extent, you can do it and do it in such a way that you have limitations in place, that you’re not exposing folks to this chemical that will, you know, that will harm them and that will have to be cleaned up later. So again, just to reiterate, health and safety and a green economy are not mutually exclusive.

McGirt: I always feel like this is fodder for science fiction, you know, someone falls into a sewer, they’re surrounded by forever chemicals, and they become, you know, the monster from the sewer kind of thing. So, thank you so much, Dr. Doa. Is there anything that you could tell us that can help us really, really frame the potential issue of having these chemicals in the environment and in our bodies?

Doa:  It’s a huge issue, and I think that folks are innovative enough and can move to substitutes. It’s like, we should stop focusing on landlines and know that the technology has moved to smartphones, and I think some of these PFAS are like the old landlines, you know—they were probably supported for too long.

McGirt: Hi, everyone. It’s Ellen again, after my interview with Dr. Doa. Like good journalists, we asked Chemours to comment on her remarks. They asked to clarify one element in particular in reference to characterizing GenX as a replacement to PFOA. Chemours responded “GenX is not a chemical compound, but a patented technology used by Chemours to aid in the manufacturing process for four types of fluoropolymers.”

Murray: Leadership Next is edited by Alexis Haut. It’s written by me, Alan Murray, along with my amazing colleagues Ellen McGirt, Alexis Haut, and Megan Arnold. Our theme is by Jason Snell. Our executive producer is Megan Arnold. Leadership Next is a production of Fortune MediaLeadership Next episodes are produced by Fortune‘s editorial team.

The views and opinions expressed by podcast speakers and guests are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of Deloitte or its personnel. Nor does Deloitte advocate or endorse any individuals or entities featured on the episodes.

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