CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A science panel has found probable links between high cholesterol in mid-Ohio Valley residents and their exposure to a chemical used by a DuPont plant in West Virginia.
The C8 Science Panel released its final report Monday on studies of data collected from about 70,000 residents. The three-member science panel was formed in 2005 as part of a class-action settlement of a lawsuit that claimed water supplies were contaminated in Ohio and West Virginia.
The company uses C8 at its Washington Works plant near Parkersburg. DuPont plans to stop making and using C8 by 2015.
"The panel's combined reports leave no doubt that the past levels of C8 in drinking water has caused serious disease among many local residents," Harry Deitzler, a lawyer for Parkersburg-area residents whose legal settlement created the panel, told the Charleston Gazette (http://bit.ly/TQ4Qzn ).
New reports also released Monday said the panel found no "probable link" between C8 exposure and high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, Parkinson's Disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease and osteoarthritis. The researchers also have eliminated any link between C8 and 19 other types of cancer.
Previously the panel found probable links between the chemical, also known as or perfluorooctanoic acid, and several other health issues, including thyroid disease, testicular and kidney cancers, pregnancy-induced hypertension and ulcerative colitis.
Deitzler has said the probable links require DuPont to spend as much as $235 million on medical monitoring programs to help detect the onset of C8-linked diseases among residents in the settlement. A medical panel will determine what extent of monitoring may be appropriate.
DuPont also agreed under the settlement to pay for upgrades to drinking water treatment systems.
The company said in a statement it would begin funding medical monitoring for eligible residents under a program "that will extend many years into the future" and would continue providing treatment to remove the chemical from local water systems.
But DuPont said allegations that C8 exposure made residents sick "ignore family history and lifestyle choices as leading causes of health issues and disease in specific individuals."