This week, I did a story for the Gazette about a new study that found exposure to the Teflon-production agent C8 could be damaging sperm and reducing sperm counts in humans.
I failed to mention a key thing in that story — that the levels of C8 involved really weren’t that high. The most troublesome part of the study is that sperm seemed to be affected by concentrations of C8 that were about what the general public is already exposed to.
In that way, the C8-sperm study was similar to another scientific paper I reported on in January, which found thatC8 (or PFOA) at levels the general public is already exposed to may be reducing fertility in women.
There’s also another new study out, in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Subs Req’d), that adds more to the concern that C8 is affecting the health of workers and the public.
This study, by some Italian scientists, appears at first to be a good sign for DuPont, 3M Corp and others in the industry. It reports that, based on 30 years of data of plant workers, “no clinical evidence of any specific trouble or disease has been recorded” and “all the biochemical parameters, including liver, kidney and hormonal functions, turned out to be within the reference ranges.”
But, the study also reported a significant association between C8 blood levels and cholesterol levels, as well as uric acid levels. As I’ve tried to explain before, uric acid is a bodily waste that has been linked to hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. The new findings in this study are similar to those in a report issued in January by the C8 Science Panel, the three-member scientific group examining C8’s potential effects as a result of the lawsuit settlement with DuPont.
In a somewhat related bit of news, the otherwise pretty secretive Science Panel announced on its Web site that it has started an e-mail newsletter that will provide information about its work.