Wireville News

Study To Detect Levels Of Teflon Exposure

Chemical Could Have Contaminated Water

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Two doctors will test residents in southeast Ohio and West Virginia to find out whether their bodies contain an unregulated chemical used to make Teflon and other products.

The National Institutes of Health gave the doctors an $841,000 grant for the four-year study of about 400 residents near the DuPont Co.'s plant across the Ohio River near Parkersburg. Ammonium perfluorooctanoate, also known as C8, has been used in the chemical giant's Washington Works plant for more than 50 years.

Ohio and West Virginia residents who claim the plant contaminated water supplies filed a class-action lawsuit in 2001 against DuPont on behalf of up to 50,000 people who live nearby.

After concluding in April 2003 that C8 might pose developmental risks to young girls and women of childbearing age, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would conduct an extensive scientific review of the chemical.

Researchers will test the blood and breast milk of more than 400 women who live near the DuPont plant, NewsChannel 4's Natalie Walston reported.

EPA researchers have said little information is available on C8's effects on humans, but rat studies have shown that it targets the liver and blood. EPA-monitored studies show that rats exposed to high levels of C8 had birth defects, Walston reported.

DuPont is seeking to keep its internal documents about C8 sealed during the lawsuit. The West Virginia Supreme Court has scheduled a May 25 hearing on that request.

The trial is scheduled to begin Sept. 20 in Wood County (W.Va.) Circuit Court.

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