July 23, 2005
The Marietta Times (Ohio)
Water system conducts C8 tests
By Justin McIntosh, firstname.lastname@example.org
The level of the chemical C8 in the blood
of a small group of Little Hocking Water Association customers
has recently been found to be much higher than residents living
in Lubeck, W.Va., much closer to the DuPont Washington Works plant
where the chemical is used.
The chemical, which has been used by DuPont at its Washington
Works plant across the Ohio River from Belpre and Little Hocking
since the 1950s, has been a health concern for many residents
and officials in the Belpre and Little Hocking areas. A link between
C8 and diseases in humans hasn’t been established but concerns
about the chemical’s presence in area water systems persists.
DuPont officials maintain the chemical is not harmful to humans.
While a large-scale blood test program is under way through a
class action lawsuit settlement by DuPont, officials of
the Little Hocking Water Association decided to move forward with
testing on its own that would have results sooner and be exclusive
to their western Washington County area. The water association
performed the blood test in May on 25 of its customers who use
a significant amount of water.
Blood test results were released this week and show the level
of C8 to be at a low of 112 parts per billion and a high of 1,040
parts per billion, said Robert Griffin, general manager of the
Other blood tests done in the past year near the Washington Works
facility found C8 in the blood of non-workers to be at a low of
15.7 parts per billion and a high of 128 parts per billion. At
another DuPont site in Minnesota, C8 was in the blood of non-workers
at a low of 2.01 parts per billion and a high of 121 parts per
“To me the findings seemed very high,” Griffin said.
“They were the highest we had seen
in non-workers. ... We were concerned before, this just
heightened the concern.”
Griffin said there has been no level determined to show how much
C8 in the blood is considered safe. The C8 “safety”
level set by the West Virginia Environmental Protection Agency
and agreed upon by the Ohio EPA for C8 in water is 150 ppb.
The Little Hocking Water Association is one of the water districts
where C8, or ammonium perfluorooctanoate, can be found. About
12,000 customers are served by the water association.
The chemical is used in the production of Teflon, which is found
in hundreds of consumer products including fabrics and non-stick
Chris Caldwell, regional public affairs
manager for DuPont, said Friday in a written statement to The
Times that the Little Hocking group’s results were not surprising
given the range of exposure in the community from water sources
to proximity to the plant.
Caldwell also said the class action, court-approved settlement
will address concerns through the removal of C8 from drinking
water by using state-of-the-art treatment technology and studying
whether exposure is linked to health problems.
“Based on existing scientific data, DuPont believes that
(C8) does not pose any health risk to the general public,”
Caldwell said. “To date, no human health effects are known
to be caused by (C8) — even in workers who have significantly
higher exposure levels than the general population.”
As part of the class-action suit against the company, as many
as 80,000 area residents could participate in health screenings.
Karen Hathaway, 51, of 1405 Poplar St., Belpre, said her family
is concerned over the levels of C8 in their water and the recent
arrival of a grandchild only heightens that concern.
Hathaway said she’s lived in Little Hocking and Belpre
since DuPont began using C8. Her daughter also still works in
Belpre and drinks and uses the water.
“We’re just concerned all the way around,”
Griffin said the small test was done separately
because Little Hocking customers wanted results specific to their
area that reflected the level of the chemical in the blood of
significant water users.
“Basically we needed information so we could make decisions
about short- and long-term solutions to this,” Griffin said.
“Also we wanted to check for other compounds.”
One of those decisions in the short-term
has been to ask DuPont again for bottled water for cooking and
drinking. Griffin said DuPont has already offered granular
activated carbon, a treatment to remove C8 from drinking water.
“In light of the current developments we think they ought
to give it to us now,” Griffin said.
Also found in the study were levels of
PFOS, another compound.
David Altman, a Cincinnati-based environmental lawyer for the
Little Hocking Water Association, said the blood tests were directed
toward customers who use a significant amount of the association’s
water but otherwise the test was done randomly and professionally
by an independent medical group out of Columbus. Altman declined
to release that group’s name.
People tested ranged in age from under 15 to over 65 years old
and had used the water for anywhere from three years to 55 years.
Twelve of the participants were female while 13 were male.
Altman said a larger number of people was
not tested because of the expense.