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C8 Health Project to include another 1,500 area people

By Pamela Brust, Special to The Times

VIENNA, W.Va. — Officials with Brookmar Inc., coordinator of the C8 Health Project, announced Tuesday an additional 1,500 eligible participants are being invited to take part in the blood tests in the next month.

Receipt of questionnaires required for the testing was closed Feb. 2 when it appeared the goal of 70,000 participants in the six eligible water districts had been met. However, after a number of individuals did not report, they were deemed not qualified to participate, found to have moved, died, or declined to be tested, openings became available. After re-evaluating the project, Brookmar officials said they determined they could reopen the project and take an additional 1,500 people.

To be eligible to participate, one must have lived, worked or attended school for 12 months prior to Dec. 3, 2004, within one of the six eligible water districts: Lubeck or Mason County in West Virginia, or Little Hocking, Belpre, Tuppers Plains and Chester in Ohio.

“We have close to 68,000 with questionnaires. As of this weekend we’ve processed about 63,000 of that number that have gone through now. We know some will be disqualified or won’t show, that’s why we think we can take another 1,500 and be budget-neutral,” said Dr. Paul Brooks of Brookmar. Officials agreed this is the largest health study of its kind in the valley, possibly in the country.

“The impact is that in the Lubeck/Belpre/Little Hocking areas we completed 52,280 people, that amounted to nearly $21 million that was put in this economy in cash on the payments of $400 each to these individuals. While at full capacity, we had 54 individuals employed and that payroll was $1.8 million. So, this project put close to $23 million in this economy in less than a year,” Brooks said.

The project also identified a number of serious health risks for some local individuals.

“I know of at least two examples of health problems that were discovered with this project. I’m sure there are people whose lives will be saved by this project,” said Wood County Commissioner Bob Tebay, whose business on the southside, was the testing location for the Lubeck site. That site has since been closed down. The other sites will remain open for the additional 1,500 who will be tested.

“We had close to 50 cases flagged by the laboratory as having life-threatening conditions. They were contacted and their physicians immediately,” Brooks said.

Brooks said for the additional testing, the project’s Web site will be reopened and questionnaires will be available online, and there will be questionnaires available at the project`s Vienna office.Once Brookmar gets the 1,500 questionnaires returned, no more will be taken. Participants are paid $150 for the completed, signed questionnaire and $250 for the blood testing.

Art Maher with Brookmar said the project will store the blood serum collected. This was not part of the settlement agreement, but he said they asked to be able to do this and it was agreed this would be done, so the blood samples will be available for future research.


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