C8 Health Project to test blood of persons exposed
Athens Messenger
By Callie Lyons

The C8 Health Project will endeavor to test the blood of 60,000 local individuals whose water has been contaminated with the DuPont manufacturing chemical known as PFOA.

Project coordinators hope to test a majority of the 80,000 people impacted by offering compensation and making participation convenient. The testing, which is being offered as part of a settlement of a class action lawsuit against DuPont, is expected to provide a definitive scientific answer to health concerns about C8.

At a press conference in Vienna, W.Va. on Friday morning, Health Project officials from Brookmar, Inc. provided additional information about the study they hope to complete within one year. Brookmar, Inc. has been appointed by the Wood County Circuit Court to administer the C8 Health Project.

“As you can imagine this is a mammoth undertaking,” said Dr. Paul Brooks of Brookmar, Inc. “There are 80,000-plus people exposed to contaminated water. Our target is to bring 60,000, at least, into the study.”

In preparation for the blood testing, Brookmar, Inc. has held focus groups in affected areas to determine how to get maximum turnout. As a result, town hall meetings are being held next week to help get the word out to impacted people. Health questionnaires have been made available online to expedite the process and participants will be compensated for their trouble. Participants in the study will be paid $150 for filling out the health questionnaire and another $250 for a blood sample for a total of $400.

“This obviously is a huge incentive to get the people to turn out,” said Dr. Brooks.

To qualify for the project, participants must have lived in one of the six affected water districts and consumed water for at least one year prior to Dec. 3, 2004. There is no household limit on participation.

Researchers hope to attract the attention of people of all ages in order to get comprehensive results.

“It will be up to parents to decide whether they want their child to go through the testing or not,” said Art Mayer, Brookmar principle.

While the blood samples drawn will run through 51 lab tests - including organ function studies, cancer markers, cholesterol screening, and hormonal studies - no testing will be done for drug use, HIV or sexually transmitted diseases.

Six modular units have been designed for the testing to give participants convenience and privacy. Brookmar officials anticipate being able to test 400-500 people per day.

The anticipated cost of the study is $70 million, which was agreed to by DuPont as part of the class action settlement in Wood County Circuit Court.

“It’s important that we get a lot of participation,” Brooks said. “This will be a model for this type of class action.”

Brooks said that people from around the country are looking at this process as a model for the negotiated settlement of other class action suits.

“This is really cutting edge and we hope it will be successful,” Brooks said. “DuPont has supported this project openly and we certainly appreciate that.”

A series of public meetings have been scheduled to provide more information to the public. The meeting schedule is:

Lubeck Public Service District, Blennerhassett Junior High, Monday, 7 to 9 p.m.

Little Hocking Water District, City of Belpre, Belpre Middle School, Tuesday, 7 to 9 p.m.

Mason County Public Service District, Pt. Pleasant Moose Lodge, July 14, 7 to 9 p.m.

Tuppers Plains-Chester, village of Pomeroy, Meigs High School, July 15, 7 to 9 p.m.

Individuals who are interested in being tested should call 1-800-605-6850 or register online at www.C8healthproject.org.