Global Processing

C8 researchers seek more data for health study

May 21, 2008
According to the Associated Press, scientists researching whether a chemical used to make the nonstick product Teflon is a health risk are seeking 40,000 new interviews with residents who consumed water containing traces of the chemical.

A panel of researchers made the announcement recently, days after it determined a preliminary analysis by West Virginia University researchers was inadequate to draw conclusions about the chemical C8.

The panel hopes the interviews, which will touch on participants'' medical history, will provide some of the strongest available evidence as to whether C8 is linked to any disease. Researchers plan to request interviews with about 40,000 adults in six Ohio Valley water districts, along with nearly 6,000 past and present employees of Wilmington, Del.-based DuPont.

The scientists are conducting 10 studies that follow up on a health screening of Mid-Ohio Valley residents who were part of a class action lawsuit that claimed C8 releases from DuPont''s Washington Works Plant near Parkersburg contaminated their water supplies.

The affected water districts are Lubeck and Mason County in West Virginia, and Belpre, Little Hocking, Tuppers Plains and Pomeroy in Ohio.

DuPont agreed to fund the health screening and install carbon filters at six water district filtration plants to screen out the chemical.

The 10 studies will look at health issues such as cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, aneurysm, immune function, liver and hormone disorders and birth outcomes.

C8 is the shorthand commonly used for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, which is used to make Teflon and other nonstick products.

Though used since World War II, C8''s long term effects on humans are unknown. DuPont maintains the chemical is not hazardous to human health. A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency science panel has said C8 is a "likely" carcinogenic.

Earlier this month, WVU researchers said preliminary results indicate further investigation is needed into whether C8 is linked to changes in liver and immune function, along with higher cholesterol in children. The C8 panel said more research and analysis is necessary.

The panel plans to conduct the additional interviews this fall, with follow up interviews in 2010.

A DuPont spokesman said the company is waiting for the panel to issue its findings.