Fluoride Action Network

Ohio: C8 Science Panel Releases First Results

Source: C8 Science Panel - Press Release | October 15th, 2008
Industry type: Perfluorinated chemicals

Presentation slides of Dr Steenland at the Press Conference download pdf.

The C8 Science Panel has completed its first studies of the potential health impact of C8, and held a press conference on Wednesday to announce those findings. As directed by the court, they first submitted their findings as reports to Wood County, WV Circuit Court. These first three reports are all based on data collected during the 2005-2006 C8 Health Project conducted by Brookmar, in which over 69,000 residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley participated. These first reports arise out of data analyses carried out in collaboration with researchers at WVU. Under the direction of Science Panelist Dr. Kyle Steenland, the results are as follows:

The first report describes the C8 levels in the blood of C8 Health Project participants, and some of the factors which explain these C8 levels. Overall, the median (mid-value) C8 level was 28 parts per billion (ppb), much higher than the US population average of about 5 ppb. The most important factors predicting C8 level were living currently in any of six contaminated water districts, working at DuPont, and being male. Current residents in any of the six contaminated water districts had a median level of 38 ppb. Those living in water districts further from the DuPont plant had lower C8 levels. Current residents of the Little Hocking water district had the highest level (median 224 ppb), followed by current residents of Lubeck (70 ppb), Tuppers Plains (37 ppb), Belpre (35 ppb), Pomeroy (12 ppb), and Mason (12 ppb) water districts. Those who were no longer residing in these water districts had lower levels (median 18 ppb). Those who had worked at DuPont had higher levels (current workers 148 ppb, former workers 75 ppb). Males had higher levels than females (34 ppb vs 24 ppb).

The second report examines the relation between blood C8 levels and cholesterol levels in adults at the time of the C8 Health Project, in 2005-2006. Participants with higher levels of C8 tended to have higher levels of cholesterol, with an 11-point increase in total cholesterol between those with lowest C8 levels to those with highest C8 levels. A similar increase was seen for C8 sulfonate (C8S), another fluorocarbon found in the blood of C8 Health Project participants. C8S was not released from the DuPont plant, and levels in the community are similar to levels across the US. The risk of having high cholesterol (defined as more than 240 mg/dl cholesterol in the blood) was about 50% higher in those with raised C8 or C8S in the blood, as determined by comparing those in the top 25% of C8 (or C8S) levels to those in the bottom 25%. The report explained that no conclusions can be made about C8 causing the increase in cholesterol because cholesterol and C8 were measured at the same time in this population, and there is no way to determine which one came first. The Science Panel is carrying out other studies which will not be limited in this way.

The third report deals with adult-onset (Type II) diabetes, both self-reported and medically-verified, among C8 Health Project participants in relation to C8 blood levels in 2005-2006. The Science Panel found no relation between blood C8 levels in 2005-2006 and either self-reported or medically-validated diabetes. There was also a lack of association when the analysis was restricted to more recent cases of diabetes among long-term residents with likely C8 exposure prior to their diabetes. Also, there was no relation between fasting glucose levels (a risk factor for later diabetes) and blood C8 in 2005-2006. As the C8 blood level was measured after the diabetes onset, there is some uncertainty about whether the C8 in the blood came before the diabetes, and an association between diabetes and C8 cannot be ruled out based on the findings in this study. The Science Panel is carrying out other studies which will provide more definite information about whether diabetes and C8 are related.

More details about the findings from these first three Science Panel reports are available at the Science Panel website (c8sciencepanel.org). The text of the status reports filed with the Court is found there. For each status report, a detailed technical report is being submitted for peer review and publication in medical/scientific journals. The Science Panel is continuing to work with researchers at WVU in analyses of data from the C8 Health Project. Summaries of the data from the C8 Health Project can be seen on the WVU C8 Health Project data-hosting website at http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/som/cmed/c8/.

The Science Panel is conducting ten other studies, nine of which are not based only on C8 Health Project data, over the next two to four years. Much of this work is based on new interviews with community residents who participated in the C8 Health Project or who worked at DuPont. These interviews have recently begun. The Science Panel will need the help of all community members from the impacted water districts to complete its studies and provide scientifically valid answers about the possible relation of C8 to disease.

The C-8 Science Panel was chosen to determine whether a probable link exists between C-8 and human disease as part of a class action settlement of a lawsuit involving releases of a chemical known as C8 from DuPont’s Washington Works in Wood County, West Virginia. The C8 Science Panel is made up of three scientists from universities in Atlanta, New York, and London. As part of their charge, the Science Panel is conducting a series of studies which will shed light on any relationship between C8 and disease. These studies are described on the Science Panel website, www.c8sciencepanel.org. The findings of these studies, together with other published data, will be evaluated by the Panel to determine which, if any, diseases have a probable link to C8 exposure. The results of individual studies are filed with the judge in the form of “status reports” and released to the public. They form part of the evidence needed by the panel; however, one study is rarely enough to be conclusive on its own, and the Science Panel has drawn no conclusions about a probable link between C8 and disease based on these first three reports. Additional status reports are expected over the course of the next three years.