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.