October 29, 2012 — The C8 Science Panel has delivered its fourth and final Probable Link report to the Wood County Court. They have concluded that there is a “probable link” between exposure to the toxic chemical C8 and high cholesterol.
They found no link between C8 and hypertension (high blood pressure), coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, osteoarthritis, or Parkinson’s disease.
According to panelist Dr. Kyle Steenland, approximately 20% of the participants in the study had high cholesterol. The participants had their blood tested and medical history evaluated as part of the C8 class action lawsuit.
The C8 Science Panel was established as part of a 2005 settlement DuPont reached with residents of West Virginia and Ohio. More than 70,000 people in that region filed a class action lawsuit, alleging that DuPont contaminated the drinking water by releasing massive amounts of C8 into the air, groundwater, and landfills near the Ohio River.
As part of the settlement agreement, the three-member C8 Science Panel agreed to spend the next six years evaluating whether exposure to C8 was associated with any increased health risks. If the panel finds any “probable links” between C8 and health problems, DuPont may be liable for those injuries in personal injury lawsuits.
So far, the C8 Science Panel has associated C8 exposure to the following severe, life-threatening health complications:
- High cholesterol
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis)
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- And more
Another condition of the settlement requires DuPont to spend up to $235 million to fund medical monitoring programs for people who may be susceptible to develop the health complications. The company has stated that they will begin funding the program “that will extend many years into the future.”
C8 (also known as PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid is a manmade chemical that has been used in the manufacturing of Teflon, non-stick cooking surfaces, stain-resistant / water-repellent clothing, and other applications at DuPont Washington Works near Parkersburg, West Virginia since the 1950s. Local water consumers discovered that C8 had leaked into the groundwater in 2002. In Ohio, the affected communities included Belpre, Tuppers Plains, Little Hocking, and Pomeroy. In West Virginia, C8 was also found in the drinking water in Lubeck and Mason County.