October 29, 2012 — In the fourth and final report, researchers from the 3-member C8 Science Panel have found a “probable link” between exposure to the toxic chemical C8 and high cholesterol. The researchers did not find that C8 was associated with coronary artery disease, chronic kidney disease, liver disease, high blood pressure (hypertension), osteoarthritis, or Parkinson’s disease.
One of the panelists, Dr. Kyle Steenland, found that high blood pressure affected 20% of the people in the study. The participants were all part of a C8 class action lawsuit against DuPont, and they had their blood serum and medical history evaluated.
The C8 Science Panel was created in 2005, after DuPont agreed to a settlement with more than 70,000 members of a class action lawsuit. Residents of six water districts in Ohio and West Virginia alleged that DuPont’s Washington Works plant emitted massive amounts of the chemical C8, which contaminated drinking water.
As a condition of the agreement, the three-member C8 Science Panel was created to investigate whether exposure to C8 was associated with health complications. If the panel finds “probable links” between C8 and any complications, people who have those injuries may be eligible to file a personal injury lawsuit against DuPont.
The C8 Science Panel has spent six years evaluating health complications, and they have discovered “probable links” between C8 and the following diseases:
- High cholesterol
- Kidney cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Thyroid disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis)
- Preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- And more
Another requirement in the settlement is that DuPont must pay up to $235 million to establish a health monitoring program to evaluate people who may be at risk of developing any of the health complications discovered by the C8 Science Panel. DuPont officials say that the program “will extend many years into the future.”
C8 is a manmade industrial chemical that is also known as perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. It is used to manufacture non-stick cooking surfaces, Teflon, stain-resistant clothing, water-repellent clothing, and oil-resistant papers. The products have been manufactured at DuPont Washington Works near Parkersburg, West Virginia since the 1950s. In 2002, local consumers detected elevated levels of C8 in drinking water. The affected communities in Ohio and West Virginia include Belpre, Tuppers Plains, Little Hocking, Pomeroy, Lubeck, and Mason County.