Residents of the Mid-Ohio River Valley who have been exposed to C8 (also known as perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA) are advised to get regular medical exams, even if they aren't currently experiencing symptoms. The screenings are part of the settlement reached in the 2005 lawsuit in which DuPont agreed to remove C8 from local waters and pay for a science panel to examine the effects of the chemical on local residents.
According to an announcement on the program's website,
“The medical panel has recommended that even if you had normal screening tests three years ago, you should have follow up screening since little is known about how long the effects of exposure to PFOA last.”
Those who have already been diagnosed with one or more of the illnesses connected with C8 poisoning are no longer eligible for medical monitoring for those specific conditions – but can still be screened for others, if these have not become apparent. All medical appointments and testing through the C8 Medical Monitoring Program are free of charge to eligible participants.
The recent advisory was issued in connection with the broadcast of a documentary program, produced by the National Geographic Channel, entitled, Parched: Toxic Waters. Second in a series that began last week on World Water Day, the current installment covers the story of how illegal dumping and lax regulations resulted in the contamination of water, harming livestock and affecting livelihood.
In a related story, the Environmental Protection Agency has expanded the region in which DuPont and Chemours are required to test public and private water sources for C8 contamination. If a water source is found to have a concentration of over .07 parts per billion, the companies are required to either treat the affected water or offer residents an alternative source.
C8 was used for well over six decades in the production of Teflon, the substance from which “non-stick” cookware and waterproof coatings were made. Exposure to C8 has been implicated in the development of kidney and testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disorder, pregnancy-induced hypertension (preclampsia) and high cholesterol.
Under terms of a settlement, individuals who have reason to believe that have been exposed are entitled to blood tests free of charge in order to determine the levels of C8 in their systems as well as ongoing monitoring for the six aforementioned conditions.