Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Duplicates Important, But Not Available

People from the Mid Ohio Valley continue to contact me about obtaining duplicate test results from the C8 Health Project, but so far there is no mechanism available to accomplish this.

Last week, I spoke at length with Dr. Paul Brooks of Brookmar. He told me that as the court administrators of the project, they closed their offices in March and have no staff currently available to handle such requests.

Brooks mentioned that the court might be inclined to provide them, but it would be difficult to do so without the code assigned to the participant making the request. In order for the C8 Science Panel and others to be able to observe the data without personal and private identifying information, each participant was assigned a coded number. The number appears on the test results, so it may be somewhat unlikely that participants who lost results would be able to provide their secret code.

The problem with this whole scenario, of course, lies in the fact that when the results were distributed the C8 values meant virtually nothing. By comparing with friends and neighbors, some participants have been able to draw some conclusions about where they fit in the spectrum - high, low, etc. But, it will be years before these numbers have any true significance for the people tested.

Over the next four or five years, the C8 Science Panel will begin to draw some very important conclusions about the concentrations found in these residents. And, when they do, these people will naturally want to reference their own test results.

Additionally, the language of the issue is shifting slightly to include all PFCs and their combined impact on the human body. Although it has gone without a lot of notice, the participants of the C8 Health Project were tested for an array of PFCs. I suspect most people paid no attention to the list and focused solely on PFOA.

But, it is important to note that Germany has laid forth the groundwork for the substances and their contamination to be considered as a class - not as separate chemicals. The country has progressively established a health-based value for the group of perfluorochemicals of no more than 0.5 parts per billion. This seems much stricter than U.S. EPA’s interim level of 0.5 parts per billion for PFOA alone.

Likewise, the wording of a court filing by attorney Rob Bilott against the 3M Company over pollution surrounding a Minnesota facility calls out the class of chemicals - not one particular strain.

I’m guessing that at some point in the future it will become very important for participants to be able to peruse the entire list of contaminants and exposure levels. Those results may provide even greater insight into the issue developing in the Valley - and around the world.

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