Dupont Chemical C8 contamination,
Washington, West Virginia

News from 2003

Dec 6, 2003:  Court says DuPont not required to pay for medical monitoring

CHARLESTON, WV -- "The state Supreme Court overturned a ruling Friday that required DuPont to cover the cost of blood tests for residents who claim they've been harmed by the company's use of the chemical C-8 at its Wood County plant. The high court also said Wood County Circuit Judge George Hill Jr. can't preside over the case until it decides if he should be disqualified. DuPont argues Hill should be removed because he lives in Parkersburg and the city's water contains detectable levels of C-8. The court's 4-1 ruling overturned Hill's May 1 order that DuPont should cover the cost for blood tests for up to 50,000 residents in West Virginia and Ohio who claim the use of ammonium perfluorooctanoate at the Washington Works plant has contaminated their water supplies and affected their health," Brian Farkas, Associated Press.

MARIETTA -- Court sides with DuPont, Tom Hrach, Marietta Times.

CHARLESTON, WV -- Supreme Court rules in DuPont's favor in C8 case, Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News Sentinel.
Nov 20, 2003:  Teflon unit still vital, DuPont maintains

WASHINGTON, WV -- "The announcement that DuPont's Washington, W.Va., Works is reducing its work force by 150 people raises concerns about the future of the plant, but one company official says the Teflon unit remains strong. DuPont on Monday announced the staff reduction, which will take place over the next 18 months, mostly through attrition and job transfers. It likely means no one will be laid off, but it does mean fewer jobs at the plant, which is one of the area's largest single employers," Tom Hrach, Marietta Times.
Nov 16, 2003:  '20/20' report puts spotlight on C8 debate

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "Sue Bailey's son had more than 30 surgeries to correct birth defects he and his family blame on his mother's exposure to the chemical. Bucky Bailey was born in January 1981 with only one nostril and a deformed right eye, according to the ABC program. Karen Robinson, the second former Washington Works Teflon worker mentioned on the show, gave birth to a son who had an eye defect. Her second child, a girl, was born with kidney problems, according to the ABC report," Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

NEW YORK -- Can non-stick make you sick?; U.S. EPA studying whether Teflon poses health risks, Brian Ross, Rhonda Schwartz and Maddy Sauer, ABC News 20/20, air date Nov 14.
Nov 13, 2003: Friday, Nov 14, 10 PM
ABC News 20/20 to report on Dupont's Teflon products

NEW YORK -- "On ABC News 20/20, tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 14, at 10 PM, Brian Ross has an investigative report on Teflon products. It's added a lot of convenience to our lives, but is Teflon also making people ill?" ABC News. Ross broke the story of FirstEnergy's central role in the August 14 blackout.
Nov 2, 2003:  DuPont's Teflon Dilemma

How Chad Holliday, the champion of sustainability, is managing an environmental challenge

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "Ronnie Murray worked [at the Washington Works plant] for 30 years before retiring in 1997, most of that time with a unit that managed the plantís water, waste and power. Murray recalls seeing dead fish and a crust on the river where DuPont discharged waste. But when called to the attention of supervisors, he said, such findings were often shrugged off. Records of spills were recorded in pencil, not pen, he and other workers said. 'DuPont will go to any extent to protect their public image,' says Murray. Jimmy Carder, who spent 17 years working with Teflon, says if there was an accident or spill, the first thought was to 'cover it up,' adding, 'everyone knew the drill.' . . . Dupontís thought process on C-8 can be glimpsed in a May 23, 1984 memo by a company executive, J. A. Schmid, summarizing a meeting on the issue. The memo, now part of the court record, stated that attendees agreed that 'the issue which will decide future action is one of corporate image, and corporate liability.' It defined liability as 'the incremental liability from this point on if we do nothing as we are already liable for the past 32 years of operation.' The memo went on to say that while DuPont had identified alternatives to C-8, none of them was economically attractive. It also said that although from a corporate perspective 'the costs are small' and DuPontís legal and medical departments would 'most likely take a position of total elimination,' the companyís product group would oppose dropping C-8 for financial reasons," Amy Cortese, Chief Executive.
Oct 24, 2003:  Study to test effect of C8 on humans

MARIETTA -- "The National Institutes of Health will pay for a study to investigate the presence of a chemical found in the Little Hocking water system to detmine its effects on Mid-Ohio Valley residents' health. The federal agency has allocated $840,000 during the next four years to test residents' blood and breast milk for a chemical used at the nearby DuPont Washington Works and then determine what health effects -- if any -- the chemical has on humans," Philip Elliott, Marietta Times.
Jul 30, 2003:  C8 trial delayed by Supreme Court hearing

PARKERSBURG -- "Proceedings in the class-action lawsuit filed against DuPont is stayed pending the outcome of DuPont's appeal in West Virginia Supreme Court. The company is seeking a writ of prohibition to block an earlier order issued by Circuit Judge George W. Hill that requires DuPont to provide and pay for C8 blood testing," Pamela Brust, Marietta Times.
Jul 28, 2003:  C8 also found in some McDonald's packaging

MARIETTA -- "McDonald's corporation officials confirmed the suspicion of an environmental research group that a C8-related chemical is widely used in fast food packaging throughout the industry. The information may eventually help scientists explain how the manufacturing chemical they call PFOA has found its way into the bloodstream of more than 90 percent of Americans. 'As is the case throughout the food service industry, our suppliers use telomers in limited coating applications for some of our packaging,' said Julie Pottebaum, McDonald's spokeswoman," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times
Jul 26, 2003:  Research group presses fast food industry for facts on packaging

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The Teflon-related chemical C8 has been a topic of interest in the Mid-Ohio Valley since it was first detected in Washington County water supplies in January 2002, likely a result of emissions from the DuPont Washington, W.Va., Works plant across the Ohio River from western Washington County. The Environmental Working Group is asking several popular fast food companies to disclose whether the food packaging products they use contain a chemical coating made of fluorinated telomers. . . 'Common chemicals used in food packaging, called fluorinated telomers, can break down into PFOA, and are one of the likely sources of the chemical in the human body,' said Ken Cook in the letters to representatives from the fast food industry," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.

Jul 17, 2003:  Warnings on Teflon products not required

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Dr. Kris Thayer of the Environmental Working Group expressed disappointment with the commission's decision. 'It's ironic that the CPSC can't study the toxicity of Teflon cookware until we have more victims of polymer fume fever,' Thayer said. 'Shouldn't we do studies and find out what studies companies have already done, before people get sick, rather than after?'" Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
Jul 3, 2003:  DuPont is developing own way to filter C8

MARIETTA -- "DuPont officials say they are working on technology which may prove to be beneficial in the cleanup of the chemical with the trade name of C8 from ground water. Experts say it also might show promise as a method for cleaning PFOA-contaminated water found at several public water systems located along the Ohio River near DuPont's Washington Works plant," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
Jul 1, 2003:   Kentucky firm claims it can reduce C8 levels

MARIETTA -- "Kris Thayer, a scientist from the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based environmental action group, hopes more people will come forward with enterprising technology that could contribute to the clean up of C8. But, she is concerned the price tag of the LifeMist distillation system may be too steep for the average person. . . . LifeMist systems, which start at $2,495 for a small home unit, are made with the highest grade of stainless steel and boil water at a much slower rate than other products," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
Jun 27, 2003:   State court of appeals to hear DuPont motion

PARKERSBURG, WV -- " The West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals has agreed to hear DuPont's motion for a writ of prohibition to block a Wood County circuit court order requiring DuPont to offer and pay for C8 blood tests to class members of a pending lawsuit," Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News Sentinel.

MARIETTA -- "Supreme Court to hear DuPont petitions," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times; no link.
Jun 22, 2003:   Scotchgard working out recent stain on its business

MAPLEWOOD, MN -- "Scotchgard grew to encompass some 100 products -- most based on a key chemical known for its remarkable ability to repel nearly anything people threw at it. The chemical breaks down into perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, a manmade substance that is part of a family of chemicals characterized by chains of carbon atoms of various lengths bonded to fluorine atoms, yielding armorlike compounds. PFOS has a chain of eight carbon atoms, or C8. But PFOS began showing up everywhere: in polar bears, dolphins, baby eagles, tap water and human blood. So did its eight-carbon cousin perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, which 3M sold to other companies such as DuPont for use in products like Teflon," Knight Ridder.
Jun 21, 2003:   Federal agencies press for inventory of products with C8

MARIETTA -- "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's investigation into the chemical known as C8 is making progress in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Protection Safety Commission. Next week officials from both agencies will meet with industry representatives and other interested parties in Washington, D.C., to work on the terms for disclosing information which would potentially identify a comprehensive list of consumer products related to the substance scientists recognize as PFOA. The composition of such a list would require DuPont and other manufacturers to release information they consider confidential for business practices," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
Jun 6, 2003: Local rep to monitor hearing about C8

MARIETTA -- "U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Lisbon, has taken an interest in a public hearing today because of the impact it may have on the Washington County residents he represents. . . .Many local people, such as Howard and Molly Varner, of Bartlett, are concerned about the potential hazards of the chemical, particularly since it has been detected in their drinking water. 'This is fairly typical of large corporations being held unaccountable for their actions,' Howard Varner said. 'I would like for them to get clean water for us. Corporations go their merry way and leave it to taxpayers to clean up the mess,'" Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.

Jun 3, 2003: DuPont recruited 'volunteers' to smoke Teflon-laced cigarettes
Human experiment found that fumes from heated Teflon make people sick

WASHINGTON, DC -- "In 1962, DuPont scientists conducted two controlled experiments on human 'volunteers' to study the Teflon-related illness called polymer fume fever, or simply 'the shakes.' The company laced cigarettes with Teflon and had the volunteers inhale the fumes to the point of illness. In DuPontís first cigarette experiment, each of up to 40 volunteers in four dosing groups smoked a cigarette laced with between 0.05 and 0.4 milligrams of Teflon. Nine of 10 people in the highest dose group were noticeably ill for an average of nine hours with flu-like symptoms that included chills, backache, fever, and coughing," Environmental Working Group, analysis dated May 29.

MARIETTA -- Washington County citizens to participate in C8 hearing, Callie Lyons, Marietta Times. "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 safe.'"
May 30, 2003: Judge to stay on C8 case

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "Wood County Circuit Court Judge George W. Hill refused to step down as the judge presiding over the DuPont/C8 class action lawsuit saying most Parkersburg residents will be eliminated as plaintiffs in the lawsuit because the amount of the chemical known as C8 is negligible in the Parkersburg drinking water supply. 'A judge cannot recuse himself unless there is a substantive reason to do so,' Hill said during Thursday morning's hearing on miscellaneous motions at the Wood County Judicial Building. 'I'm going to proceed with the case,'" Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
May 28, 2003: U.S. EPA hearing on C8 draws interest

MARIETTA -- "Ben Addy, of Lowell, will be following the U.S. EPA hearing closely. Not only is he concerned with the potential effects of exposure to the manufacturing chemical in the air and water, but he claims an incident of polymer fume fever kept him in the hospital for 10 days in 1977. 'Teflon kills birds, and it makes old men sick, too,' said Addy, who said he became extremely ill after welding Teflon skids while working on the Willow Island power plant more than 25 years ago. 'There was no smell or anything but that evening I got the worst cold I've ever had in my life. I was out of my head for days in the hospital with a temperature that reached 105,' " Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
May 24, 2003: New U.S. EPA leader may affect C8 inquiry

MARIETTA -- "Sandy Buchanan, the executive director of Ohio Citizen Action in Cleveland, said she does not believe a change in U.S. EPA administration will make a difference in the future of C8 or the general direction of the agency. 'The tone (for the U.S. EPA) is set by the president,' Buchanan said. 'Whitman was carrying out Bush's policies, so I don't know that it will make a big difference for him to appoint someone else. The difference could only be made with a change in his environmental policies,'" Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
May 17, 2003: Environmental group lobbies for warnings on Teflon cookware

MARIETTA -- "An environmental action group is petitioning the Consumer Product Safety Commission to put warning labels on Teflon-coated cookware, saying heated pans coated with the substance will kill pet birds. The Environmental Working Group this week urged the commission to take action on the issue. The Washington, D.C.-based scientific research organization says that in 2 to 5 minutes, with the use of a typical household stove, non-stick coated pans reach temperatures that produce toxins that kill birds," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
May 16, 2003: DuPont to fight release of results about employee blood tests

WASHINGTON, WV -- "Attorney Robert Billott, representing the class of plaintiffs, said in a telephone interview Thursday that after DuPont repeatedly failed to turn the records over, the attorneys for the plaintiffs filed a motion to compel the production of the evidence. 'We had offered to sign a protective order to address confidentiality concerns,' Billott said. 'They refused to turn over the documents,'" Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.

WASHINGTON, DC -- "U.S. urged to put warning labels on Teflon pans," Christopher Doering, Reuters.
May 15, 2003: Environmental Working Group finds heated Teflon pans can turn toxic faster than DuPont claims:
Group releases first-ever profile of chemicals that kill birds, sicken people

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The watchdog research organization tested coated pans to find that in two to five minutes on a typical household stove, the pans reach temperatures that produce toxins that even DuPont acknowledges kill hundreds of pet birds each year and cause flu-like, 'polymer fever' in humans," Jon Corsiglia, Liz Moore, Lauren Sucher, Environmental Working Group.
Apr 22, 2003: EPA seeks citizen input on C8

MARIETTA -- "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," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
Apr 19, 2003: Colombo, Paulucci trade barbs on Luigino's plant deal

PARKERSBURG, WV -- ". . . sources familiar with the project said the company became concerned after The Columbus Dispatch in February reported C8 contamination in some local water supplies. The compound is not detected in water, but the company believed its competitors would say Luigino's foods were made with tainted water, the sources said. . . . 'In closing, let me say this, Mayor Jimmy Colombo, as owner of Luigino's Inc., I gave my word, as did our president of Luigino`s Inc., Ron Bubar, to the state of West Virginia authorities that we would not discuss or publicize the reason why we had to stop construction to avoid adverse publicity for your city and area and through no fault of ours,' [Jeno] Paulucci said. 'We have kept our word. This does not mean that when a reporter asks you why, you tell them you don't know. Why don't you tell them you don't want to tell them why and that Jeno told you why,' he said," Jesse Mancini, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "DuPont told to pay for C8 blood tests," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
Apr 15, 2003: EPA plans additional study of C8's impact

MARIETTA -- "The EPA's alarm over the chemical, which has been used by the DuPont Washington, W.Va., Works plant across the Ohio River from western Washington County for more than 50 years, stems from the fact that it causes delayed sexual maturation and mortality in lab animals," Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.
Apr 14, 2003: EPA steps up study of Teflon chemical risk to humans

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The EPA announced that it "intensified and accelerated" its review of C8, based on studies recently evaluated by the agency which raised toxicity concerns. As part of its review, the EPA ordered the industry to submit new data to the agency by mid-July," Christopher Doering, Reuters.

CHARLESTON, WV -- "Profile: Environment is a priority for Wise, says new DEP chief," Ken Ward Jr., Charleston Gazette.
Apr 12, 2003: Group wants EPA probe of DuPont, report on C8

WASHINGTON, DC -- "The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.,-based organization, on Friday issued a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency seeking an investigation into charges DuPont violated the law by failing to report a study the group says shows the chemical caused birth defects," Tom Hrach, Marietta Times.
Apr 4, 2003: Group files C8 motion

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "Plaintiffs have filed a motion seeking partial summary judgment in a pending class-action lawsuit against DuPont Washington Works, asking the court to order medical monitoring expenses for plaintiffs exposed to C8 in their water supplies," Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Mar 22, 2003: Colombo seeks another buyer for land after Luigino's pullout

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "C8 is a non-issue, he said. The site has no contamination and Parkersburg water is safe and free of the compound, [Wood County Commission President Rick] Modesitt said. 'I feel safe. I wouldn't be drinking the water if I didn't,' Modesitt said. 'It's much to do about nothing,'" Jesse Mancini, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Mar 21, 2003: Luigino's nixes plans for $36 million frozen food plant; 600 jobs lost

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "Luigino's would have been one of the city's largest customers. It was concerned its competition would use C8, also known as ammonium perfluorooctanoate, against its products, officials asking not to be identified said," Jesse Mancini, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Mar 19, 2003: DuPont says C8 emissions down

WASHINGTON, WV -- "Citizens say they want to know the truth about whether the chemical is harmful to people's health. 'It's what we don't know that kills people,' said Eugene Harlow, 79, of Cutler. 'We have a bad history in this country with cancer. People have to look at every angle to take care of their health. You have to protect yourself.' Harlow is a customer of the Little Hocking Water Association, a community water provider that has detected C8 contamination levels ranging between 0.6 and 8.58 parts per billion. Harlow is one of many consumers who buy bottled drinking water 'to be on the safe side,'" Callie Lyons, Marietta Times.

WASHINGTON, WV -- DuPont: C8 emissions to drop dramatically, Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

MARIETTA -- Ohio survey, well testing to assess C8 in water, Marietta Times.
Mar 14, 2003: U.S. EPA limits C8 airborne emissions

WASHINGTON, DC -- "Limits on airborne emissions of C8 from DuPont's Washington Works plant will be enforced as part of the company's pollution permits, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection said. The agency notified DuPont of the change in its permits by letter sent out this morning, DEP lawyer Perry McDaniel said," Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Mar 13, 2003: DEP to enforce limits on amount of C8 discharged into the air

CHARLESTON, WV -- "Limits on airborne emissions of a controversial chemical used by DuPont at its Wood County plant will be enforced as part of the company's pollution permits, a spokesman for the state environmental agency said. . . .The permit change will give DEP the power to enforce limits on the emissions of ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known as C8, from DuPont's Washington Works," Martha Bryson Hodel, Associated Press.
Mar 12, 2002: C8 dispute leaves citizens confused

MARIETTA -- "'It's a chemical. It doesn't belong in there, but I would not imagine that anyone from the company would lie to us about it,' said Eugene Harlow, 79, of Cutler, a customer of the Little Hocking Water Association, who said he now buys bottled water. 'But we don't know what to believe,'" Tom Hrach, Marietta Times.
Mar 8, 2003: DuPont criticizes report from Little Hocking residents

WASHINGTON, WV -- "'The idea that DuPont would ever knowingly put the people in the communities in which we operate in harm's way is preposterous and contrary to the culture of DuPont, which puts safety first always,' said [DuPont Washington Works Plant Manager Paul] Bossert," Parkersburg News and Sentinel.
Mar 7, 2003: Residents may have significant amount of C8 in blood

LITTLE HOCKING -- "Residents in Ohio communities with the highest levels of C8 in their drinking water and air may have significant concentrations of C8 in their blood, according to a draft model by DuPont. The concentration levels could be double the average amount of C8 found in DuPont employees who directly work with the unregulated chemical at the local plant," Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.