July 12, 2005
The Charleston Gazette (West Virginia)
800 get briefing on C8 screenings
Health study to focus on residents near DuPont plant
By The Associated Press
PARKERSBURG — Kim McMichael stopped drinking his tap water
several years ago when he heard his public water supply might
be contaminated with a chemical that is used to make Teflon at
the nearby DuPont plant.
The Cutler, Ohio, guidance counselor said Monday he now drinks
bottled water, but he depends on water from Little Hocking Water
District for cooking, swimming and bathing.
“I feel somebody ought to be paying me for this water,”
McMichael said at a meeting at Blennerhasset Junior High School.
DuPont has known since 1984 that ammonium perfluorooctanoate,
also known as PFOA and C8, was in the water, McMichael said.
“They had an obligation to inform the public.”
McMichael was one of more than 800 people to attend the first
of four public meetings this week to inform people about what
may be the largest public health screening to occur in the United
States. More than 80,000 people who live in six water districts
near DuPont’s Washington Works plant along the Ohio River
near Parkersburg or depend on private wells in that area will
be asked to respond to health questionnaires and submit blood
samples to determine the levels of C8 in their systems.
DuPont agreed to the health screenings in February to settle
a 2001 class action lawsuit filed by residents who alleged the
company intentionally withheld and misrepresented information
concerning the nature and extent of the human health threat posed
by C8 in drinking water.
The substance is used to produce the nonstick substance Teflon
and a variety of other products from flooring to clothing. Though
used since World War II, C8’s long-term effects on humans
About $70 million has been allocated to collect health information
and take blood samples from willing participants.
Because the study also includes former residents of the Mid-Ohio
Valley area, arrangements are being made to collect blood samples
nationwide, said Dr. Paul Brooks, who is co-chairman of the collection
Residents and former residents will each receive $150 to answer
a health questionnaire, and another $250 if they provide a blood
sample. Only residents who received the water for at least a year
before Dec. 3, 2004, are eligible.
Monday night’s meeting was for customers of the Lubeck
Public Service District near Parkersburg. The remaining hearings
will be for customers of the Mason County Public Service District
in West Virginia, and the Little Hocking and Tuppers Plains water
districts, Belpre and Pomeroy, all in Ohio.
A federal scientific review panel has said C8 is “likely”
to be carcinogenic to humans, but DuPont officials have disputed
the draft report. The panel agreed last week to revise the draft
to better reflect opposing viewpoints before submitting it to
the EPA by July 20.
C8 Health Project: