Dupont Chemical C8 contamination,
News from Jan - Jun 2004

See also News from 2003
Jun 23: DuPont disputes PFOA cancer claim

Charles O. Holliday, Jr.
Dupont Chemical CEO
Charles Holliday
WASHINGTON, DC -- "Chemical giant DuPont is disputing a recent study that claims exposure to the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) used to manufacture Teflon and other fluoropolymers at one of its chemical plants in West Virginia causes an increased risk of cancer. The company was reacting to a study that found plant workers and neighbors whose drinking water contains the perfluorinated compound have cancer rates several times higher than those of the general population. . . 'Based on what we have seen, we question the scientific validity of the conclusion in the report,' counters Robin Leonard, principal epidemiologist for DuPont. For example, he says, the study did not control for other factors that might affect cancer rates. 'There is no indication that other factors impacting the health of populations were considered or analyzed,' Leonard charges," Rebecca Renner, Environmental Science and Technology.

  • Environmental Science and Technology is a publication of the American Chemical Society, to which Dupont is a contributor.
Jun 18: Dupont on the defense?

Last night in Pomeroy, Jane Houlihan describes what the chemical C8 can do to the human body. Her audience includes Dupont Chemical plant neighbors, residents whose water supply is C8-contaminated, and public officials. Houlihan is an environmental engineer and Vice President for Research at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, DC. More photos.
Jane Houlihan
PARKERSBURG -- "Residents of southeast Ohio and West Virginia are suing Dupont claiming their drinking water is contaminated by C-8 from its plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia. Many of them attended an informational meeting held Thursday night at Meigs County High School. The Ohio Citizen Action group fielded questions and addressed health concerns to the group. Jane Houlihan the Vice President for Research [for the Washington, DC-based Environmental Working Group] says home filtration systems don't necessarily work to filter out C-8 from water. Many residents at the meeting said they felt Dupont has been holding too much pertinent information from them for way too long," Denise Alex, WTAP-TV News.

POMEROY -- Region is 'ground zero' for C8 issue: Researcher, Athens Messenger.

PARKERSBURG -- U.S. EPA taking formal action against DuPont, Dave Payne, Sr., Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

MARIETTA -- U.S. EPA planning action against DuPont. "Documents recently made public show DuPont was aware C8 was present in local water systems since the mid-1980s, but failed to notify the EPA or the affected communities. . . 'I think that's something they should have divulged back then instead of trying to address it now,' said Little Hocking Water Association general manager Robert Griffin. 'No one was aware they had found it back in 1984. They didn't inform us until 2002,'" Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.

WASHINGTON, DC --- DuPont defends Teflon ingredient as U.S. EPA signals fight ahead, Associated Press.
Jun 17: Safety of C-8 subject of 14-month probe
DuPont facing EPA action on C-8

WASHINGTON, DC -- "C-8 has contaminated the drinking water supplies of 30,000 people in the Ohio River Valley, according to court records in a class-action lawsuit there. . . The 3M Co., the original manufacturer of C-8, began to phase out the chemical in 2000, citing environmental concerns. The company gave the EPA a series of studies showing that C-8 causes birth defects and cancer in rats. The studies also showed that C-8 was detected in the blood of 98 percent of 598 children tested in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Those studies influenced the EPA to study the chemical further to decide whether to regulate it," Jennifer Goldblatt, Wilmington News Journal.

WASHINGTON, DC -- U.S. EPA to act against DuPont for an ingredient in Teflon, Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post.
Jun 10: Ohio Citizen Action public meeting set for June 17

POMEROY -- "Ohio Citizen Action will conduct a public information meeting on 'C8 and Its Effects on Drinking Water' at 6 p.m. June 17 at Meigs High School. Jane Houlihan, vice president of research at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, D.C., will be the keynote speaker for this event. Houlihan is a nationally known expert on the uses and effects of the C8 chemical, and will provide information about the potential health hazards of exposure to the chemical in the workplace and community," Marietta Times.
Jun 7: Press Advisory for June 17
National expert on C8 to speak in Meigs county

Jane Houlihan
Jane Houlihan
PAGEVILLE -- "Ohio Citizen Action, the state's largest environmental organization, will host a public information meeting on the chemical "C8" and its effects on drinking water in Meigs County, Ohio on Thursday, June 17, 2004. Jane Houlihan, Vice President for Research at the Environmental Working Group in Washington, DC, will be the keynote speaker for this event. Jane Houlihan is a nationally known expert on the uses and effects of the C8 chemical, and will provide information about the health hazards of exposures to the chemical in the workplace and community. The chemical commonly known as "C8" (perfluorooctanoic acid), has been discovered in eight public water systems in five counties in Southeastern Ohio and parts of West Virginia bordering the Ohio River, affecting approximately 100,000 water customers. The event is free and open to the public and will be held at the Meigs Local High School at 6:00 p.m. Following the presentation by Ms. Houlihan, there will be a question and answer session," For more information: Sandy Buchanan, Executive Director, Ohio Citizen Action, (216) 861-5200, 1-888-777-7135; Debra Cochran of Pageville, Meigs County, (740) 698-6081.
May 8: DuPont papers will be unsealed

DrawingPARKERSBURG, WV -- "One of the previously sealed documents, referred to as the 'Bowman Memo,' is a November 2000 communication from DuPont attorney John R. Bowman and, according to court documents, was prepared more than a week after the Lubeck Public Service District sent a letter to its customers notifying them C8 had been found in their drinking water. In part, the memo states: 'In view of the interest the letter is getting I think we need to make more of an effort to get the business to look into what we can do to get the Lubeck community a clean source of water or filter the C8 out of the water.' The memo notes attorneys in other water contamination suits informed Bowman 'it is less expensive and better to remediate or find clean drinking water for the plaintiffs than fight these suits.' 'We are going to spend millions to defend these lawsuits and have the additional threat of punitive damages hanging over our head. Getting out in front and acting responsibly can undercut and reduce the potential for punitives,' according to Bowman," Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

CHARLESTON, WV -- Supreme Court orders DuPont documents unsealed in C8 suit, Associated Press.
May 6: New study finds cancer rate higher in C8-exposed areas

James Dahlgren, M.D., one of the nation's leading experts on environmental chemical exposures.
James Dahlgren
PARKERSBURG, WV -- "A recently released study authored by Dr. James Dahlgren, a nationally known toxicologist retained by plaintiffs in a pending Wood County Circuit Court C8 class action lawsuit filed against DuPont Washington Works, states 'the overall cancer prevalence rate is higher in the population exposed to C8 when compared to the general population. . . Our findings indicate that the exposed residential population (residents) have similar cancer prevalence findings to the PFOA exposed workers. Prostate cancer in the workers was proportionately elevated among young age males,' the report states. The report also notes findings of elevated prevalence rates of atypical cancers such as Hodgkin's, Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma. This data suggest that exposure to PFOA may alter cancer distribution in exposed populations (worker and residents) and may be an important risk factor for an excess of cancer cases, according to Dahlgren's report," Pamela Brust, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.MARIETTA -- DuPont disputes study that links C8 to cancer risk, Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.
Apr 30: DuPont to launch $1 million C8 study

Harry Deitzler
Harry Deitzler
PARKERSBURG, WV -- "DuPont Washington Works officials announced Thursday plans to conduct a $1 million study to compare the health of employees who work directly with C8 and those who do not. . . .Harry Deitzler [a lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the case] said he does not understand what DuPont hopes to accomplish with the survey. 'According to the letter (sent to employees) DuPont is just comparing employees with employees. With the (drinking) water and air, everybody in the plant is essentially exposed the same,' Deitzler said. The study would be more valuable if it used a control group who lives and works nowhere near where C8 is used, Deitzler said. 'A comparison of workers in the plant is absolutely meaningless,' Deitzler said," Dave Payne, Sr., Parkersburg News and Sentinel.

CHARLESTON, WV -- DuPont to study effects of C8 on workers at Wood plant, Pam Ramsey, Associated Press.
Apr 28: New high in levels of C8 worries water customers

View from space of Ohio River

This photo, taken by a space shuttle astronaut, shows the Ohio River dividing Ohio (north) from West Virginia (south). Parkersburg is the white area south of the river near the center of the photo. Marietta is further north, where the Muskingum River flows into the Ohio River. The DuPont Washington Works is on the south bank of the Ohio River, just west of the large islands.

MARIETTA -- "Little Hocking Water Association customers are expressing concern over reports that the levels of the chemical C8 in their water is at its highest since testing began in 2001. 'I still worry about it,' said Gale Moyers, of Ohio 550, Barlow. 'I worry about C8 being in my water even though they say the parts per billion aren't enough to cause any concern.' . . . Still, some water customers are not overly concerned about the chemical, which is a detergent-like material used by DuPont to manufacture fluoropolymers such as Teflon. 'I suppose it is not too big a problem or we wouldn't be allowed to drink it,' said William Bills, 67, a 50-year resident of Veto, which is served by the water association," Brad Bauer, Marietta Times.
Apr 15: C8 levels are up in new test

Dupont Chemical

LITTLE HOCKING -- "Little Hocking Water and Sewer Association General Manager Robert Griffin said test results from water samples taken in February show the highest concentration of C8 since testing began in 2001. Concern about C8 in the area has been high since a 2001 class-action suit filed in West Virginia alleged DuPont knowingly allowed a chemical with the trade name of C8, a component used during the production of Teflon, to be discharged into local water supplies at unsafe levels, causing adverse effects on residents' health. DuPont operates a plant at Washington, W.Va., across the Ohio River from Belpre and Little Hocking in western Washington County," Curtis Johnson, Marietta Times.
Mar 4: Teflon ingedient in humans;
Study to look at chemical's effect in Ohio

COLUMBUS -- "The Dispatch reported last year that DuPont has known since the early 1980s that C8 contaminated nearby drinking-water supplies in Ohio and West Virginia. The highest levels were detected in the wells of the Little Hocking Water Association, which serves parts of Washington County and Troy Township in Athens County. [Dr. Edward Emmett of the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Hong Zhang, a Parkersburg, W.Va., physician] will analyze concentrations of C8 in blood and breast milk from about 400 people who live in the water district, including those with private wells. Researchers want to know whether C8 levels are higher in the blood of area residents, how they came in contact with the chemical and whether it poses health risks. Zhang, medical director of an occupational-medicine and environmental health clinic, said she is eager to help answer residentsí questions. 'Iím quite excited that we can do this for the community,' she said," Geoff Dutton, Columbus Dispatch. Access fee; no link.
Feb 12: Group to help spread word about C8 project

COLUMBUS -- "A community group is working to educate residents of the Little Hocking Water Association Service District about a study that could provide answers about the health effects of the chemical known as C8. The first newsletter about the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences study will be mailed by early next week to the 1,200 western Washington County residents in the district. Later in the process, about 400 people will be asked to participate in the study by providing samples of blood and/or breast milk," Kate York, Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Jan 13: Class action lawsuit against DuPont in C8 case goes to trial Sept. 20

PARKERSBURG, WV -- "As the Monday hearing began, Parkersburg attorney Diana Everett asked [Wood Circuit Judge George W. Hill] to exclude the media. No reason was given by Everett for requesting a closed-door hearing, other than saying she didn't want what was about to be discussed to be public at this time. . . . Hill did not comment on the reason for closing the hearing, but did announce to media present after the hearing that he denied DuPont's motion to seal the record of the hearing; if the media wished to have a copy of the hearing transcript it would be available from the court reporter," Pamela Brust, Marietta Times.

WASHINGTON, WV -- DuPont starts $900 million staff reorganization, Curtis Johnson, Parkersburg News and Sentinel.