The C8 Science Panel wants to interview some 40,000 Mid-Ohio Valley residents about their medical history in an ongoing effort to determine if there is any link between the chemical and various diseases.
Over the next few weeks, introductory letters about the follow-up studies will be mailed to adults who signed consent forms for the science panel studies while participating in the C8 Health Project, which gathered data on C8 blood levels and medical and demographic histories of residents in communities.
The studies will track participants’ medical history and attempt to relate disease with exposure to C8, a chemical used in the Teflon-manufacturing process at DuPont’s Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg. This should provide “some of the strongest evidence about whether C8 is associated with any disease,” according to a release the science panel issued Tuesday.
The panel also plans to interview 6,000 past and present DuPont workers.
The health project and the panel were created as part of the settlement of a class-action lawsuit claiming C8 releases from the Washington Works plant contaminated water supplies in Little Hocking, Belpre, Tuppers Plains and Pomeroy in Ohio, as well as Lubeck and Mason County in West Virginia. The panel is conducting 10 studies that will examine health issues such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, aneurysm, immune function, liver and hormone disorders and birth outcomes.
Some residents who participated in earlier C8 testing said Tuesday they would consider taking part in the new interviews.
Michael Roseland, 53, of Little Hocking said he keeps up with news of research into C8 but is not overly worried about exposure to the substance.
“I just doubt that with everything else that’s in our atmosphere that a little C8’s going to have a detrimental effect,” Roseland said.
Melissa Arnold, 32, of Little Hocking said she remains concerned about the effects of C8, especially on her two children. She said her family has continued to purchase bottled water, even after a DuPont program providing it was discontinued once a filtration system designed to remove the chemical from Little Hocking water went online.
The tap water “still tastes really strange,” Arnold said.
Little Hocking resident Brenda Justis, 52, said she might participate in the interviews if she had the time. C8 is not a major worry for her though.
“It hasn’t really affected us that much, that we know of,” Justis said.
C8, the commonly used name for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, has been described by a federal Environmental Protection Agency panel as a “likely” carcinogen, although the EPA’s review is ongoing. DuPont maintains there are no known human health effects associated with C8.
West Virginia University researchers said earlier this month that preliminary results indicate further investigation is needed to determine whether C8 is linked to changes in liver and immune system function, along with higher cholesterol in children. The science panel agreed.
About the science panel’s new study
• The C8 Science Panel plans to interview approximately 40,000 Mid-Ohio Valley adults and 6,000 former DuPont workers about their medical histories.
• Letters will be mailed in the next few weeks to C8 Health Project participants who signed consent forms for the science panel studies.
• Participants will receive $40 after completing the first half-hour interview in the next eight months and a $10 gift card after a second interview in 2010.
• Health project participants who have not signed up for the science panel community study can still do so by downloading a consent form from www.c8sciencepanel.org and mailing it to the specified address.