PFOA 2005
November 22, 2005. C8 and the Ohio EPA.
By Roger McCoy. WBNS-10TV (Ohio).

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

See brief introduction to PFOA and PFOS


November 22, 2005

WBNS-10TV (Ohio)

C8 and the Ohio EPA

By 10 Investigates Roger McCoy

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency's mission is to "Protect human health and the environment through responsible regulation." Yet, for three years, the Ohio EPA has hesitated to regulate perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) contamination in the drinking water of thousands of Ohioans. 10 Investigates Roger McCoy found a growing number of people are asking whom the state agency is protecting.

PFOA is commonly referred to as C8. The Ohio EPA has not regulated C8 even as a $107-million class action settlement prompted blood tests on thousands of Ohioans. Despite test results that show many people have high levels of C8, Ohio's EPA has not taken regulatory action on a chemical its known about for at least three years.

The C8 is a waste by-product of Teflon manufactured in DuPont's Washington, West Virginia plant.

DuPont's own documents from the class-action lawsuit revealed that C8 has been drifting across the Ohio River since the 1980's, seeping into the Little Hocking Water Association's water supply.

"Obviously there's a problem, and I think something should have been done a long time ago," said Nicole Taggert.

Nicole and her family drank the Little Hocking Water Association's contaminated water until recently when DuPont agreed to supply water that was C8 free. Even so, tests under the DuPont class action settlement found high levels of C8 in Nicole and her family's blood.

"My little girl was 500 and mine was 700," said Taggert referring to how many parts per billion of C8 were found in their blood.

The average American, by contrast, has 5 parts per billion of C8 in their blood. The tests on Nicole, her family and thousands of other southeast Ohioans found some of the highest C8 levels on earth.

While several scientific studies debate C8's health effects, most agree it's a concern. It accumulates in the blood and even though DuPont has cut most of the C8 waste its West Virginia plant generates, it takes years, in some cases decades, to leave the human body.

This June, a US EPA Science Advisory Board draft report on C8 tentatively described the chemical as a "likely human carcinogen."

"Our contention has always been it (C8) doesn't belong in the drinking water," said Robert Griffin, director of the Little Hocking Water Association.

As a precaution, Griffin said the Ohio EPA should have set drinking water standards for C8 three years ago when it first learned of the DuPont contamination. "We've tried to inform our customers, protect our customers," said Griffin. "We could have used some more help."

Rather than set C8 limits, the Ohio EPA is monitoring the contamination, advising people in southeast Ohio to drink bottled water, and waiting for the US EPA to determine if C8 is a human health concern. Minnesota, another state with C8 concerns, has set drinking water limits for the chemical. Ohio's EPA says it doesn't have the resources to determine if limits should be placed on C8 which is why its relying on the US EPA.

"Their resources are, frankly, are far superior than ours in determining what an appropriate and safe (C8) level would be," said Ohio EPA director Joe Koncelik.

The attorney for the Little Hocking Water Associations disagrees. He says the Ohio EPA has ignored its top priority.

"The Ohio citizen is what that Agency is there for," said David Altman. "Not some company operating across the river, or for that matter even in Ohio."

Ohio Citizen Action, a consumer advocacy group agrees with Altman that the Ohio EPA should set C8 water standards.

"What is more important than the health and the safety of the residents?" asks Simona Vaclavikova, Ohio Citizen Action program director. "How can you justify spending money on anything else."

Congressman Ted Strickland, whose district is affected by the C8 contamination, says he is also disappointed with the Ohio EPA's inaction.

"That's not reassuring and I don't think that's the way it ought to be," said Strickland. The Lisbon democrat said If the Ohio EPA won't act on C8, he will take action of his own. "I think my responsibility, immediately, is to pressure the US EPA to investigate and set a standard for this chemical," said Strickland.

The US EPA Science Advisory Board should issue a final report by the end of the year on C8's cancer-causing potential. Earlier this year, US EPA brought administrative actions against DuPont for failing to report information concerning C8 to the Agency as required by section 8(e) of the Toxic Substances Control Act. DuPont says its own C8 studies determined that the chemical is not a health hazard. If independent tests find otherwise, DuPont says it will cover the health care expenses for those exposed to the chemical in southeast Ohio.

All content © Copyright 2004 - 2005, WorldNow and WBNS-TV, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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