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