July 13, 2005
The Marietta Times (Ohio)
Hundreds fill cafeteria for C8 health project
By Tim Brust
Hundreds fill the cafeteria at Belpre Middle School for the C8
health project Tuesday.
Hundreds of people attended an informational session concerning
the C8 health project Tuesday night in Belpre.
Hundreds of others walked away with only a pamphlet and other
printed material because there wasn’t enough room for them
at the Belpre Middle School cafeteria.
The session was the second in a series of public meetings held
to explain how health information and blood samples would be collected
from area residents who have been drinking water contaminated
by the chemical ammonium perfluorooctanate, commonly known as
The substance is used at DuPont’s Washington Works in the
process of making Teflon and has been detected in the water supplies
of a number of communities, including Belpre and Little Hocking.
A link between the chemical and diseases in humans hasn’t
been established. DuPont has maintained and continues to claim
there is no detrimental health effects from C8. It’s hoped
the study will help establish whether there is a link or not.
With only 350 seats available in the meeting room, coordinators
held not one but two informational sessions. Those who didn’t
want to wait for the second session to start at 8:15 p.m. were
offered some printed material on the project.
Frances Barickman and her husband, Kip, were disappointed that
the crowd was larger than the facility could accommodate. She
said they drove to Belpre from Little Hocking to get some firsthand
information about the health survey.
Kip Barickman said he has a special interest because he retired
from DuPont more than a decade ago and worked with C8.
“I worked in the lab for years,” he said.
Norman Burba of Vincent said he, too, was concerned about his
“I wanted to find out what I’m drinking,” he
Tim Collins wanted some general information about the testing
but said it appeared that everything being presented last night
was also available on the project Web site, www.c8healthproject.org
“I’ll just get it off the Internet,” he said.
Lisa Starcher-Collins of Salter and Associates, a public relations
firm assisting with various parts of the project, said organizers
simply didn’t know what the response would be when they
originally scheduled four meetings, all set to start at 7 p.m.
She suggested the large turnout signals that many people are
interested in being part of the health survey.
“Ultimately, it’s a good thing,” she said.
Project coordinators Dr. Paul Brooks and Art Maher explained
that participants would fill out a health survey, either on-line
with a computer, on the telephone or by obtaining a hard copy
of the questions. After that, if they wished, they could also
set an appointment to give a blood sample.
Brooks stressed that the tests were not being done for drugs,
the A.I.D.S. virus or sexually transmitted diseases and that all
the results would be strictly confidential.
“Art and I will keep that under lock and key,” Brooks
Questions from the public included who would be eligible for
the tests, what lab would analyze the blood samples and how long
C8 had been in the drinking water.
The answer to the last question is about 50 years and that surprised
John Kaufman of Belpre.
“I was kind of amazed how long it’s been going on,”
Some of those who attended the meeting were under the impression
it would detail the health effects of C8 instead of simply outlining
how the testing would be done. They were among those that felt
the meeting wasn’t productive.
But Sandra Norris of Belpre who among those who felt it was worth
the time to attend.
“It was a plus,” she said.
Residents who live in one of a half a dozen water districts and
consumed the water for at least a year prior to December 3, 2004
will be paid $150 to fill out a health survey and another $250
to provide a blood sample. Former residents who moved to another
area are also invited to participate if they meet the guidelines.
Blood testing is expected to begin in late July in Wood County
and in early August in Washington County.
Starcher-Collins said since the crowd was so large in Belpre,
organizers might schedule another meeting in Little Hocking.