PFOA 2005
August 12, 2005. DuPont C8 Tests OK With EPA.
By Spencer Hunt. The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio).

Return to
PFOA Class Action Suit
Newspaper articles and Documents related to PFOA Class Action

See brief introduction to PFOA and PFOS



August 12, 2005

The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)

DuPont C8 Tests OK With EPA
State agency is not concerned that federal EPA suspects company might be withholding data

By Spencer Hunt

The Ohio EPA said it trusted DuPont to test air and water for C8 contamination near its Circleville plant and to tell the public about the results.

More than a year later, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency has not received some of the results. And DuPont waited nine months before it told a group of local officials and residents that perfluorooctanoic acid, or C8, was not a problem there.

The testing and what followed occurred at the same time DuPont faces U.S. EPA accusations of illegally withholding information about the possible health risks of C8, a chemical the company uses to make Teflon.

John Millett, a U.S. EPA spokesman, said the agency conducts its own laboratory tests on C8 as part of its studies.

"It's naive to allow the polluter to tell the authorities how much he's polluting," said Lauren Sucher, spokeswoman for the Environmental Working Group, an advocacy group based in Washington. "How does that make sense for public health?"

DuPont and Ohio EPA officials said the test results are accurate.

"We have high confidence in the testing procedures DuPont has used," said Todd Kelleher, a supervisor in the Ohio EPA's drinking water division.

DuPont faces two federal investigations that began after C8 was discovered in drinking water of 10 Ohio and West Virginia communities around the company's Washington Works plant near Parkersburg, W.Va.

DuPont was served with a federal subpoena in May that demanded documents and studies of C8. The company faces hundreds of millions of dollars in potential U.S. EPA fines.

Last year, DuPont agreed to pay as much as $343 million to settle a class-action lawsuit by residents in West Virginia and Ohio. About $70 million is being spent on a study of C8's health effects on as many as 80,000 people who drank the water contaminated by the Washington Works.

Studies have linked C8 to liver damage and cancer in lab animals. In June, a panel of U.S. EPA scientists called it a "likely" cancer risk for people.

Records and interviews show DuPont tested water at the Circleville Works plant, at drinking water wells in Pickaway and Ross counties, and in the Scioto River between July 2004 and July 2005.

DuPont tests of wastewater taken from a drainage ditch that runs into the Scioto River show C8 at levels between 8.1 parts per billion and 9.8 parts per billion. Those levels are higher than C8 found in three wells the Little Hocking Water Association uses for drinking water in southeastern Ohio.

Tests of Scioto River water and wells used by the Earnhart Hills Regional Water and Sewer District and the Ross County Water Co. found no detectable levels of C8, according to DuPont.

DuPont also estimates that its Circleville plant releases 158 pounds of C8 into the air each year, said Bill Spires, a manager in the Ohio EPA's air division.

Spires and Kelleher said they believe C8 does not pose a health risk at air levels DuPont has measured.

Kelleher said the Ohio EPA ran its own tests of C8 in southeastern Ohio drinking water in April 2002 to check DuPont's results. A copy of the test results show DuPont found higher levels of the chemical in six wells.

DuPont uses a private lab, Exygen, for its tests. The state used a U.S. EPA lab in Colorado.

Where air issues are concerned, Spires said the Ohio EPA is still waiting to see DuPont's data. Company officials said they forgot to send the data when asked before but they would send it soon.

Simona Vaclavikova, program director for the advocacy group Ohio Citizen Action, said the Ohio EPA should have been involved in the entire testing process.

"Why should we trust DuPont to do all these tests?" she said.

Ricky Seymour, 45, once worked on a farm near the Circleville Works, and his son was a DuPont security guard. He said he and others should have been told about concerns over C8 in the area.

"This is serious," Seymour said yesterday at a corner restaurant in Circleville. "The EPA's supposed to be an environmental protection agency, not hush-hush."

Dispatch reporter Kristy Eckert contributed to this story.

Fluoride Action Network | Pesticide Project | 315-379-9200 |