PARKERSBURG – A member of the C8 Science Panel was in town Wednesday to announce the next round of follow-up C8 health studies that will begin at the end of April.
Science panelist Dr. Kyle Steenland with the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, stopped in Parkersburg to announce the two follow-up studies to the C8 Health Project to be getting under way at the end of this month.
Steenland earlier met with officials with the West Virginia Cancer Registry in Charleston.
“We are matching the community and worker cohort to both the Ohio and West Virginia Cancer Registries as well as the National Death Index to get information on cancer or any mortality among cohort members,” Steenland said.
The studies follow those who lived in the six water districts involved in the C8 class action lawsuit.
“In the cases of the community members and DuPont workers, we do interviews to ascertain disease and cross-check the information on the registries and index, for those who have given permission,” Steenland said. “Cooperation has been very good, 90 percent, the hardest part is finding them,” he said, noting sometimes people have moved or their contact information has changed. If that is the case, they need to contact the science panel through its website: www.c8sciencepanel.org , Steenland said.
“During these latest studies, we will reinterview those initially interviewed last year, following up about their medical history. Those interviews will be much shorter than the previous interview. During the first round approximately 40,000 people 20 and over were interviewed for the community study and 6,000 for the DuPont worker study. In this round, w4e will attempt to contact those individuals for another follow-up as well as anyone missed during the first round,” he said.
The community study will compare disease rates among those who had higher levels of C8 in their blood in 2005-2006, at the time of the health project, with those who had lower levels, Steenland said. “If they signed up in 2005, and were never contacted, they should go to the website to participate in the followup. The interview can be done online or by phone. We are comparing illness rates in those with high C8 exposure to those with less exposure to see if there is any relationship,” Steenland said. Participants will be paid $20. The study is limited to those who consented for the panel to followup at the time of the health project.
Phone contacts for the followup studies are being made by Battelle Corp. For the latest information on the science panel’s work and the 11 studies the panel is involved with, go to the C8 website.
After leaving Parkersburg, Steenland headed off to Columbus, where he was scheduled to speak to the Ohio Environmental Health Association, discussing the science panel’s work.
C8 is the common name given to perfluorooctanoic acid, (sometimes called PFOA), a man-made chemical used in the manufacturing process for products such as non-stick cookware.
In mid-March, Dr. Tony Fletcher of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, another member of the C8 Science Panel, announced short-term follow-up blood testing which will take place over the next three months to provide additional data for the science panel studies. A sampling of 800 adults who participated in the C8 Health Project and consented to follow up blood tests are participating as part of that study.
The six affected water districts are Belpre, Little Hocking, Tuppers Plains, Lubeck, Mason County and Pomeroy. Residents of the districts filed a class action lawsuit against DuPont Washington Works. As a result of a settlement in the case, Brookmar Inc., an independent company, conducted a year-long survey (August 2005 to July 2006) called the C8 Health Project, gathering information through interviews and questionnaires and collected blood samples from about 69,000 people (adults and children) who lived, worked or attended school in the six affected water districts.
Also as part of that settlement, a three-member panel of experts was appointed, and in 2008 was provided with the information collected during the health project. The panel is to determine if there is a probable link between C8 and disease. Members of the C8 Science Panel are Fletcher, Steenland and Dr. David Savitz with the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.