By Callie Lyons, firstname.lastname@example.org
When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducts a
public meeting in Washington Friday - the next step in
evaluating the toxicity of a manufacturing chemical known as
C8 - many Washington County residents will participate.
The citizens will join some of the researchers, scientists
and industry experts participating in the process and offering
ideas as to how they would like the substance to be handled in
The chemical, which is a key ingredient in the making of
Teflon, has been used and released into the air and water by
the DuPont plant in nearby Washington, W.Va., for nearly 50
years. But, some county residents became aware of the
chemical, known to scientists as PFOA, only when it was
detected in their drinking water in January 2002.
Many area citizens have commented on the issue to The Marietta Times.
"Could there be other unregulated chemicals in our water?"
asked Kim McMichael of Barlow Township 29, a customer of the
Little Hocking Water Association.
McMichael said he is disturbed because citizens who had the
chemical in their drinking water were not informed about the
contamination until it became the subject of a class action
lawsuit filed against DuPont in Wood County Circuit Court.
DuPont maintains the chemical has displayed no hazardous
effects for humans over decades of use.
However, the EPA has been investigating the toxicity of C8
with regard to humans because it causes reproductive and
developmental problems in laboratory animals. The only
conclusion drawn by the agency so far is that "considerable
scientific uncertainty remains regarding potential risks."
The objective of Friday's public meeting is to develop
enforceable consent agreements, which could lead to more
specific guidelines regarding the future management and
testing of the manufacturing chemical.
Carolyn Richards, who lives on Ohio 550 near Barlow and
Bartlett, may have been exposed to the chemical all her life
by the water she drinks.
"I'm very unhappy with the situation," Richards said. "The
EPA has let it go too long without responding. I'm buying
water to drink and cook with, yet I'm still paying a water
Richards said she began purchasing bottled water as soon as
she found out C8 was in her drinking water supply. She is too
afraid of the potential hazards of the manufacturing chemical
to continue to consume the water supplied by her local
distribution system, which has been shown to contain about 2
parts per billion of C8.
"I think DuPont should dig new wells and provide a fresh
water source that would be safe for Little Hocking water
customers," Richards said. "This is a small farming community,
and this all stems back to the company having a lot of money."
Cindy Bosner, of Marietta, had Little Hocking water from
1996 until 2001. She is concerned about whether the chemical
might have affected her in that time.
"I would like to know for sure," Bosner said. "It really
sounds scary. I want to be tested."
Bosner plans to participate in court-ordered blood testing
provided the West Virginia Supreme Court upholds Judge George
Hill's ruling for DuPont to supply the tests to individuals
whose water supply has been significantly impacted.
Jennifer Whipkey of 619 Tenth St., Marietta, is so alarmed
over the chemical contamination that she wrote a letter to the
EPA outlining her concerns.
"Are government health experts sure that eight glasses of
C8 enhanced water a day is a good recommendation?" Whipkey
asked. "Just because C8 is non-regulated doesn't make it
Like other people who are concerned about the issue,
Whipkey wants straightforward answers from the EPA.
"Since not everybody can afford a computer, newspaper, or
TV, maybe after the true facts are organized, the U.S. EPA
could send all Mid Ohio Valley citizens a full no-nonsense
report about the dangers of the C8 chemical."