At another event later in the day, attorneys spoke with residents regarding exposure to the chemical and their legal rights.
Members of the C8 Science Panel, a court appointed, independent
research team, were unable to appear at the press conference near Parkersburg due to
the inclement weather. Instead, the
panelists released their findings to the public via a Sykpe conference
call. The panel discovered a probable
link between increased levels of C8 and high cholesterol.
Dr. Kyle Steenland detailed their findings.
“There it was based on a fairly large number of these—what they
call cross sectional studies—where in the literature, including a large one of
our own. In both children and adults in the Mid Ohio Valley we found with increased
levels of PFOA levels in the blood in 2005 people had higher cholesterol as
That was both true, like I said,
in adults and in children. That was
complimented by a bunch of reports in the literature which showed the same
thing. Not all of them but most of them and there’s 8 or 9 of these things.”
Steenland also said that stronger evidence exists when study
participants are followed over time. He
said that when C8 levels increase over time, so do cholesterol levels.
No probable link was found between levels of C8 and Parkinson's
disease, non-malignant liver disease, non-malignant kidney disease,
osteoarthritis, coronary artery disease, or high blood pressure.
Prior research indicates a probable link between exposure to C8
and kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, pregnancy induced
hypertension, and ulcerative colitis.
When asked about the future of studying the population whose
drinking supplies were contaminated by C8, all three members of the panel noted
the need for further research. Steenland
said he plans to seek funding for his own continued study.
“I can say that our legal role is over. We think that it’s
important to follow this population. At
least some of us will probably try to continue to follow this population for
health outcomes in the future. Unfortunately,
in our business even 5 years is not enough to get a definitive answer. It’s probably something that needs to be
followed. We will be applying for funding
from other sources such as the government—The National Institue of Health—to
try and continue to follow this population.”
The C8 Science Panel was formed as a result of a class action law suit
against DuPont. High levels of the
chemical were found in drinking water supplies in the area surrounding the
company’s Washington Works plant.
At a town hall event in Lubeck later in the day, attorneys Kathy
Brown of Charleston and Jon Conlin of the firm Cory, Watson, Crowder, &
Degaris in Birmingham, Alabama spoke to residents who may have claims against
DuPont outside of the original class action settlement. The event was one of four such meetings Brown
and Conlin organized in the area since Sunday.
Conlin urged residents to take part in a medical monitoring
program that is currently being set up.
“Anyone in the area, if you don’t know if you have one of these
injuries already that is diagnosed—if you do, you need to go seek counsel—if
you’re in the area and you don’t know what might happen for you, in the next
couple week the medical panel is going to set up the process for the medical
monitoring. It’s not in place yet. Keep an eye out for the notice and look for
“Once that’s set up, participate in it. Follow up with your doctor, follow up with the
panel, do what you need to do once the practice and procedures are set up for
it. Follow those along so you can get tested.”
The attorneys recently filed two personal injury claims and one
wrongful death claim on behalf of residents who allegedly became ill due to
exposure to C8.
Angie Summers of Washington, whose husband is retired from DuPont,
came out to get information about her and her family’s legal rights. She said the issue has been a concern of
theirs for some time.
“Well, we’ve been following the C8 thing for a long time. My husband is retired from DuPont. His level
of C8 in his blood was pretty elevated. So, I’ve tried to keep an eye on it. I raised
my children on Lubeck water. They
grew up out here. It’s a concern for my entire family.”
In a prepared statement, DuPont said the recently filed suits
against them “ignores family history and lifestyle choices as leading causes of
health issues and disease in specific individuals.” DuPont also said they plan
to defend against all suits brought against them not based upon valid science.