How much should personal injury lawyers know about the participants in a C8 Science Panel study?
That's what attorneys in the class action case involving theDuPont-manufactured chemical talked about during a hearing Tuesday in Wood County Circuit Court.
The agreement...allow a third party access to those files...long enough to make a list of the 70,000 people who agreed to be part of the study.
"It will have to be put on SW Resources computer," said Dr. Paul Brooks, co-founder of Brookmar, Inc., which conducted the tests. "It will then be totally removed, and the data base would be returned to the court. That protects the individual from being identified."
Three personal injury suits have already been filed on behalf of Wood County residents, and another has been filed in Ohio.
The C8 Science Panel next Monday is to give its final report on diseases related to the chemical.
A medical panel is then expected to begin its own study.
Meanwhile, the firm of Brown and Conlin, one of the law firms filing personal injury suits in the case, plans a series of town hall meetings
October 28 and 29 to give more information to residents about their legal rights.
A meeting is scheduled for October 28 in Point Pleasant, West Virginia at the Lowe Hotel on Main Street at 1 pm. October 28 at 4 pm at the Riverside Golf Club in Pomeroy, Ohio. Two other town hall meetings are set for October 29 at the Belpre Volunteer Fire Department on Stone Road at 2 pm and that evening at 6 p.m. at the Lubeck Volunteer Fire Department on Harris Highway.
A rare form of colitis, and thyroid disease. Those are the last illnesses for which the science panel found a probable link to C8 used by DuPont Washington Works. This time, there were a lot of afflictions for which it did not find a link.
"Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma, stroke, other other auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Type one, or juvenile, diabetes, Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis," said panel member Dr. Kyle Steenland. "And we found no link to childhood infections, or any sort of neurobehavioral problems in children."
And in the case of the thyroid link, it appeared to be a matter of caution. The panel said the evidence on that link was mixed.
While an exact date hasn't been announced, the focus by nearly everyone involved with the C8 issue is in October. That's when the panel's final report is to be issued.
DuPont distributed a statement just after the news conference, saying it has worked to reduce exposure to C8 by plant workers, as well of its emissions of the chemical since 2000.
"We also have developed and commercialized new technologies to make floropolomers without using PFOA," the statement went on to say, "and to make surface protection products that cannot break down to PFOA in the environment. Regulatory authorities around the
world have affirmed these products are safe for their intended uses."
"These plants have to be accountable for their actions to human health," said Joe Kiger, a member of the original class action lawsuit, filed in 2001. "This is the thing I'm concerned with, and very much worried about, with things that have been going on over the years as far as health problems."
A link to the C8 Science Panel's website can be found by clicking on the "Hot Button" on our home page.
The C8 Science Panel is set to release more "probable link" findings to the Mid-Ohio Valley Monday morning, July 30.
Late last year, the Science Panel began issuing findings on probable links between the chemical and conditions including cancers, diabetes and obesity in children.
Those findings can be found by clicking on the "hot button" on our webchannel.
And the latest of those findings will be announced at a Monday morning news conference ... at 10:00 and will be streamed live at WTAP.COM.
That report will have 7 studies of links C8.
Those are asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke, thyroid disease, auto-immune diseases like lupus, diabetes, bowel disease, arthritis and neurological development in children.
Panelists will report those findings to the court prior to Monday's news conference.
They need more time. That's what C8 Science Panelists are telling the court after discovering they won't be able to complete all tests by their deadline of the end of this month.
"Over the course of the past year since our hearings last summer, we had all assured the public that there would be answers mid to late July," says Plaintiff Attorney Harry Deitzler at a phone conference held on Monday.
You can scratch that July deadline and move it to October. C8 Science Panelists say there's still a lot of work to be done to determine 14 more possible links to C8 and drinking water.
C8 Panelist Dr. Kyle Steenland explains, "there's several reasons for that. One is we need to document fully why we make these decisions. So the probable link documents that you've seen from last December and from April are rather extensive. They lay out the data from literature but also lay out the data from our own analyses which are important."
But this time around they're assuring the public they'll have the results ready by the end of October.
"The reason why were confident this time is because we know exactly what we're into. Having been through this process and even having enough of preliminary information on all of the outcomes, we see where the challenges will lie and we have a better and much more informed sense of the amount of work involved," explains panelist Dr. David Savitz.
And both sides of the case agree there's no rush when it comes to science.
"We again, share everybody's goal and I think the science panel sincerely shares the same goal to deliver these results as quickly as possible and we have faith that they will complete it as quickly as possible," Dupont attorney, Libby Stennes, says.
"I'm sure it was as disappointing to them as it was to the communities and the court, but after our conversation with them, we don't have any reason to believe that there's any blame to be made. It just took longer than they expected," explains Deitzler.
Two more reports are scheduled to be completed. One set of findings will be presented to the court on July 30th, and the other by October.
For more information, click on the hot button.
There will be results from the court appointed C-8 Science Panel on the deadline date of July 31st, but they won't be complete.
The panel is asking for more time to turn in the last seven probable link evaluations.
The panel informed the attorneys Monday that it will need about three more months to complete the final series of reports on liver, kidney and heart disease, hypercholesterolia, hypertension, osteoarthritis and Parkinson's disease.
The panel says the reason they cannot complete everything by the end of July is because they "underestimated the painstaking process of resolving several assessments that are very close to the balance between presence or absence of a possible link."
So far, the panel has determined that three diseases have a probable link to C-8 in the Mid-Ohio Valley, including testicular cancer, pregnancy induced hypertension and kidney cancer.
At the July 30th court filing, the panel will file 7 more reports on asthma, COPD, stroke, infectious disease, thyroid disease, several auto-immune diseases and neurological development in children.
Updated 5/01/2012 5:30 P.M.
Concentrations of C8 in workers at two U.S. plants, one of which is DuPont Washington Works, have been outlined in a report just months before the C8 Science Panel's final findings are to be issued.
One of the authors of the report is Dr. Kyle Steenland, the Emory University epidemiologist who also is a member of the C8 Science Panel. It outlines measurements of worker exposure to the chemical also known as PFOA over a more than 30-year period beginning in the 1970's.
The exposure levels varied according to changes in their working environment, reflecting changes in the production areas of the plant. But one study it consulted found what the report calls a consistent 2-3% increase in PFOA in blood serum, suggesting an apparent body build-up of the chemical over time. that, it says, suggests pfoa may result in what it calls "a significant body burden in chronically-exposed workers."
The report goes on to say levels of the chemical in workers peaked in 2000, at roughly the same time use of C8 at Washington Works was at its highest level.
DuPont issued a statement saying the report does not reach any new findings about the effects of C8, adding it anticipates the science panel may author a number of papers, such as this one, describing portions of the body of work on which it bases its findings.
A previous study cited by the report mentioned that workers studied appeared to have higher cholesterol numbers due to exposure to C8.
The Science Panel's final report is due out by the end of July.
Updated: 4/16/2012 6:30 P.M.
The C8 Science Panel has found a link between the chemical used to make non-stick coatings, and two types of cancer. But that's two out of 23.
Out of nearly two dozen forms of cancer studied, the only two to which the science panel could find a probable link are testicular cancer and kidney cancer. Of the rest, only one showed a slight link.
"The only one showing a signal, and it was weak but reaching statistical significance, was prostate cancer," says Science Panel member Dr. Tony Fletcher. "That was not confirmed in the geographic analysis which was presented."
And those findings brought skepticism from one of the original class members, of the lawsuit filed in 2001, which claimed C8, or PFOA, caused illnesses in people living near DuPont's Washington Works plant. His concern is that kidney cancer, for which a probable link was found...can spread to other parts of a cancer patient's body.
"And this person also has liver cancer or another type of cancer," said original lawsuit class member Joe Kiger. "And if this cancer is in the same person, same body, same blood, how can that not be contributing?"
DuPont immediately released a statement saying it has reduced total emissions by more than 98% in its global manufacturing operations, as well as developing new ways to make fluoropolymers, or Teflon coatings, wthout using PFOA.
The final report of the court-ordered science panel is to be released in July. a separate medical panel will monitor the health of exposed residents.
"Our job was to gather a sufficient amount of scientific evidence to make a good judgement," says Dr. David Savitz, Science Panel Member. "And that's what we've done; we won't be revisiting these specific diseases within the job we're doing right now."
The panel also did not find a link between C8 and type two adult diabetes.
Harry Deitzler, the attorney representing the lawsuit class members, said the finding ensure DuPont will continue to fund water treatment systems installed to filter C8 in the areas included in the settlement between the company and residents back in 2005.
The C8 Science Panel says it has found a probable link between both kidney and testicular cancer.
It also says it has not found a probable link between C8 and other cancers or adult onset diabetes.
The following is Dupont's statement about the science panel's findings:
Today the Science Panel filed two “probable link” reports in connection with the West Virginia class action litigation. The Science Panel reports address type-II adult onset diabetes and cancer. The Science Panel found no probable link between PFOA and diabetes. The Science Panel found a probable link with two cancers (kidney and testicular), but found no probable link with the remaining nineteen categories of cancer evaluated.
The settlement defines the standard for “probable link” as whether it is more likely than not that PFOA exposure among class members is linked to a human disease. A probable link report does not mean that the Science Panel has concluded that PFOA exposure has caused or will cause any human disease among the class members as a whole, including the Washington Works employees, or any individual.
Consistent with our core values of health, safety and environmental stewardship and before any reports from the Science Panel, DuPont took actions to minimize PFOA exposure.
For decades, DuPont has had industrial hygiene measures in place to minimize worker exposures to PFOA. Data shows that these measures are effective. DuPont has reduced total PFOA emissions by more than 98 percent in our global manufacturing operations since 2000. We also have developed and commercialized new technologies to make fluoropolymers without using PFOA, and to make surface protection products that cannot break down to PFOA in the environment. Regulatory authorities around the world have affirmed that these products are safe for their intended uses.
DuPont will continue to meet its obligations under the West Virginia litigation. DuPont will evaluate additional information from the Science Panel as part of our long-standing commitment to the safety of our employees and customers and to responsible environmental and product stewardship.
Stay tuned to WTAP News and WTAP.COM for more information on these results. Read more about the Science panel findings by clicking on the Hot Button or on the link below.
New developments in the C8 settlement...as scientists studying the chemical plan to announce the latest findings.
DuPont and attorneys from local residents who settled a class action lawsuit nearly eight years ago have jointly selected a three-member medical panel.
It's separate from the science panel, which has been studying the chemical's effects.
"If there is a link between a disease and C8 exposure," said plaintiffs' attorney Harry Deitzler, "then the medical panel determines what kind of medical testing is appropriate for the people who were exposed."
The three science panel members will hold a news conference immediately following submission of its latest findings to Wood County Circuit Court.
That will take place at 10 A.M. Monday in Vienna.
WTAP will be sure to have coverage of that event.