PFOA 2005
August 17, 2005. U.S. EPA finds C8 in drinking water near Circleville.
Associated Press. Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio).

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August 17, 2005

Akron Beacon Journal (Ohio)

U.S. EPA finds C8 in drinking water near Circleville

Associated Press

CIRCLEVILLE, Ohio - Federal regulators have found traces of a chemical used to make Teflon in drinking water near DuPont's Circleville Works plant, countering findings by state and company officials.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that DuPont found evidence of ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known as PFOA and C8, in wells near the plant but did not report the finding because C8 levels fell below a detection level the company set. The wells were used by the Earnhart Hill Regional Water and Sewer District.

"We strongly believe the current approach described by DuPont is not appropriate or acceptable," Cathy Fehrenbacher, a chief with the agency's pollution prevention and toxics office, wrote in an April 28 letter to DuPont.

The U.S. EPA has had trouble getting DuPont to measure pollution at the lowest level it can be detected, which is the agency's standard practice, said Mary Ellen Weber, a director in the same U.S. EPA office.

"Frankly, we don't believe we're going to get all the information we need," she said.

The company has agreed to use a lower limit - between 3 and 5 parts per trillion - in samples collected this summer near its Washington Works plant near Parkersburg, W.Va., said David Boothe, planning manager for DuPont Fluoroproducts. The company's current limit is 10 parts per trillion.

The health effects of drinking water contaminated with the chemical have not been determined, but a panel of scientists from the U.S. EPA said in June the chemical should be considered a likely cancer risk.

The Ohio EPA on Monday issued a statement saying no C8 had been detected in drinking water near the Circleville plant. The state agency wasn't aware of the letter from federal officials until Tuesday.

The public should not be concerned about the chemical's presence because it was far lower than what has been found in contaminated supplies from the Ohio River near Parkersburg, said Todd Kelleher, an Ohio EPA supervisor.

As part of a settlement of a class-action lawsuit, DuPont is paying for health tests of up to 80,000 Ohio and West Virginia residents whose drinking water was contaminated by C8 from the Parkersburg plant. DuPont says it uses less of the chemical at Circleville than at other facilities.

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