By Callie Lyons, firstname.lastname@example.org
Local residents or anyone wanting to submit written
comments for a hearing on C8 planned in Washington, D.C., in
June have until May 16 to submit their information. The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has called a public
meeting to gather information about the controversial chemical
used in DuPont's manufacturing of Teflon and other products.
The company calls it C8; scientists call it by its official
designation, PFOA. The outcome of the June 6 hearing could be
further regulation of the chemical.
The federal EPA recently concluded it needed more
information to evaluate the human hazards of C8, if there are
any. To speed up the mandated methods of discovering more
about the chemical, the EPA has scheduled the public hearing.
It's unclear who, if anyone, the local DuPont plant will
send to the hearing, or whether representatives of local water
systems will attend. The spokesperson for DuPont was out of
the office Monday. Bob Griffin, general manager for Little
Hocking Water Association, could not be reached for comment
Monday. Little Hocking Water Association is one of a handful
of local water associations with traces of C8 found in their
Traces of C8 have been detected in the bloodstream of 90
percent of the American population, according to a preliminary
risk assessment performed by the EPA. But the Mid-Ohio Valley
is the only place where people are directly exposed to C8 via
the water they drink and air they breathe, because of
emissions from the DuPont Washington Works plant, said
attorney Robert Bilott during a hearing Friday in Wood County
Circuit Court. Bilott represents the plaintiffs in a class
action suit against DuPont.
DuPont officials maintain the chemical does not pose a risk
to humans. The EPA has not yet determined whether the
chemical, which provokes reproductive and developmental
problems and cancer in laboratory animals, poses a risk to
The use of C8 is also an issue with economic implications.
Attorney Laurence Jansen of Steptoe & Johnson,
representing DuPont at Friday's hearing, said the Washington
Works plant employs 3,200 people, and the company's ability to
maintain those jobs would be compromised if the use of C8 were
to be prohibited.
Also, an Italian food processing/packaging plant backed out
of a deal to bring a 600-job, $36 million development project
to Parkersburg earlier this year after learning about C8
contamination reported in local water supplies.
Scientists and researchers from the Environmental Working
Group, a Washington, D.C.-based research coalition, have asked
the EPA to stop use of PFOA in manufacturing.
Richard Wiles, senior vice president of the Environmental
Working Group, said it is essential for local people who will
be affected by the EPA decisions to participate.
"Let the EPA know you are aware of the issues," Wiles said.
"The EPA knows there is a lot of noise there. The communities
that have the greatest effect work as an organized group."
comments by docket ID OPPT-2003-0012.
for comments to be received is May 16.
comments by e-mail, send to www.epa.gov/edocket.
comments by standard mail, send to EPA Docket Center (7407),
Environmental Protection Agency, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. NW,
Washington, D.C., 20460-0001.