Friday, June 29, 2007

Court Filings Tell of Botched Results and Lab Costs

In May, we learned that about a third of the C8 test results from the C8 Health Project were botched. Court documents filed last week in Wood County tell the details of how it happened.

Status reports filed by Brookmar and Exygen, the laboratory that performed the testing, explain that the lab conducted 71,339 samples for C8 from August 2005 to August 2006, nearly 68,000 of those were part of the C8 Health Project. But, in November of 2005 it was noticed that the lab results from Exygen were consistently higher than observed at a comparative lab. Further investigation revealed that the results were biased 25 percent high.

It was later determined that the cause of the bad results had to do with the standard preparations used to calibrate the testing equipment. In this case, rabbit blood was mixed up with a known quantity of C8 and all the human samples were compared to that standard.

Exygen has committed to retesting the samples in question, all 25,233 of them, at no additional cost. In all, more than $31.6 million of the $70 million Health Project budget was spent on lab fees. Payments to participants came to roughly $27.3 million.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Report Calls for Innovation in Toxicity Testing

This is interesting. Even the feds believe there are more efficient ways to test the toxicity of chemicals for humans.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Southeast Ohio Environmental Justice Forum

Environmental Justice: Policy Gaps at the Local, State and National Levels
Making Ohio’s Polluted Communities Clean and Safe

Saturday, June 30, 2007
1:00 to 4:00 pm
Athens Community Center
701 E. State Street
Athens, OH 45701

Panelists include:

Lois Gibbs, Community Activist from Love Canal and Director of the Center for Health, Environment and Justice, Washington, DC – "How the US EPA Has Failed Southeast Ohio and other Communities throughout Ohio”

Teresa Mills, Buckeye Environmental Network, Columbus, OH

Anne Robinson, State Health Committee Chairperson, Ohio Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Chillicothe, OH

Lorry Swain, Southern Ohio Neighbors Group (SONG), Portsmouth, OH

Caroline Beidler, Neighbors for Clean Air, Marietta, OH

Elisa Young, Meigs Community Action Network (Meigs CAN), Racine, OH

Callie Lyons, Author of Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof, and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8, Marietta, OH

The panel will be followed by small-group discussions, where participants will get an opportunity to define what an Ohio environmental justice policy would include to address what keeps at-risk communities so polluted.

These forums are the beginning of a conversation that will continue through statewide field hearings and hopefully culminate in the drafting and passage of Ohio environmental justice policy.

Sponsored by Center for Health Environment and Justice, Ohio Environmental Council, Ohio Conference National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Buckeye Environmental Network, Earth Day Coalition, Ohioans for Health Environment and Justice, Appalachian Peace and Justice Network, and the Appalachian Ohio Sierra Club.

Limited seating is available, so reserve your place by Friday, June 22: Catherine Cutcher, Appalachian Peace and Justice Network (APJN), 740-592-2608,

MDH Releases Cancer Study

The Minnesota Department of Health is releasing a cancer study today, observing rates in areas where people have been drinking water contaminated with C8 and other perfluorochemicals.

The state is looking at the issue as the result of contamination detected around 3M manufacturing sites, somewhat similar in nature to the local issue with DuPont Washington Works. For decades, 3M used PFOS to make Scotchgard and many other products. PFOS is a sister chemical to PFOA. Both are known by their 8-carbon chains.

Most of the cancer rates observed were within expected limits, but the study did find some disturbing irregularities.

An excess of liver cancer was found in women living in one of the two counties examined. Further analysis showed that liver cancer rates in men ranked as high as double the state average while the incidents of liver cancer in women were as high as three times the expected rate.

Overall cancer rates in the two counties were very similar to the rest of the state, but the report says that the rates in the profiled communities are statistically uncertain due to the small populations involved. The report concludes that the few elevations observed must be interpreted very cautiously.

(A link to the study will be posted as soon as it becomes available.)

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Book Review

From someone who obviously didn't read the book:

"Ohio-based newspaper reporter and radio news director Lyons tells the story of the manufactured chemical known commercially as Teflon, and its detection in the water supplies 12 states so far. The chemistry and toxicology, the government investigation, the reaction by the DuPont company that makes the stuff, popular movements, law suits, and similar cases are all part of the story." —SciTech Book News, June 2007

Please note: Nothing in the first sentence (past my last name) is true. But, I have no problem with the last sentence.

Upcoming Events

This Friday evening, June 8, I'll be celebrating Marietta's first Merchants and Artists Walk of the summer season with a book signing at American Flags and Poles. Some copies will be available at a special rate, and these events are always so full of fun and friends, so come on down and say hello!

(There's a very special event coming up in Athens, Ohio on June 30, but I'm waiting until I have a few more details to share.)

On July 11, I'll be offering a presentation on C8 at the O'Neill Senior Center in Marietta from 1:30 to 3:30 pm. We'll share a PowerPoint presentation designed to help people understand some basic truths about C8 and its presence in the Valley, and then we'll open things up for discussion. I'm looking forward to more of these little gatherings. (Please let your community or civic group know that I'm available and seeking out opportunities to speak.)

Between now and then I'm heading home to the great plains of the West. I do hope to share the book with some folks out there. But, more than anything I'm just ready to be home with the family for a spell. Last year, I wrote 5 chapters of the book in ten days at home in Kansas (thanks to my mother's constant vigilance with the girls). So, it will be especially nice to go back without a looming deadline!