OHIO VALLEY — This month the C8 Medical Panel is expected to announce the protocols for the first phase of medical monitoring available to people in the Mid-Ohio Valley who have been drinking water contaminated with an industrial surfactant. A town hall-style public meeting will be held in Chester on March 26.
C8, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, became the subject of a class action lawsuit against DuPont by thousands of people whose water became contaminated with the manmade substance as the result of manufacturing processes at DuPont Washington Works near Parkersburg, West Virginia. As a condition of a groundbreaking settlement agreement, a panel of independent epidemiologists known as the C8 Science Panel was selected to determine whether or not the impacted population was at greater risk for disease because of the exposure. Findings from the C8 Science Panel determined that there was a probable link between C8 exposure and pregnancy-induced hypertension, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis and kidney and testicular cancer. Consequently, people in the Mid-Ohio Valley who have been drinking C8-contaminated water may be eligible for free medical monitoring or personal injury claims.
The C8 Medical Panel, which includes Dean Baker, MD, M.P.H., Melissa McDiarmid, MD, M.P.H., D.A.B.T., and Harold Sox, MD, M.A.C.P, exists to determine what medical screening is appropriate for people who have been drinking water contaminated with C8 in light of findings by the C8 Science Panel.
According to a January court filing, the medical panel intends to announce protocols for initial screening of class members this month with the protocols for ongoing monitoring scheduled to be released in the fall.
Marietta attorney Ethan Vessels is encouraging people who have lived within the impacted communities to understand the process and participate in the screening that is yet to come.
“Everyone who is eligible should definitely participate in medical monitoring,” Vessels said.
Vessels is hosting a series of informational town hall meetings for members of the impacted communities who want to understand all the issues facing them and who may have questions about illness or medical monitoring.
Water districts found to be contaminated with C8 include Belpre, Tuppers Plains, Little Hocking and Pomeroy, Ohio and Lubeck and Mason County, West Virginia. The criteria for participation in medical monitoring or filing a personal injury claim is not based on an individual’s current place of residence.
Callie Lyons, investigative journalist and author of Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8, will be present at the meetings to provide information and answer questions. Lyons has been following the controversy for the past 11 years.
This month, Vessels and Lyons will meet with community members in Little Hocking and Chester.
At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, there will be a town hall meeting at the gymnasium of Little Hocking Elementary School. At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, a second town hall meeting will be held at the old Chester Courthouse. The meetings are free and open to the public.