Wednesday, April 30, 2008

GAO Blames White House for Delay in Regulatory Action on PFOA

The Government Accountability Office claims that the White House is holding up the EPA when it comes to regulatory action on PFOA – or C8 – a manufacturing substance used to make Teflon and thousands of other consumer products.

The recent report specifically blames the EPA's lack of productivity on the management decision to suspend activity pending the outcome of additional scientific studies. The GAO says that in the 1990s the EPA's general approach was to use the best science available as the basis for assessment. But, the administration's new means of assessing chemicals for harm is delaying the completion of the process - sometimes for years.

The PFOA risk assessment is used by the GAO as one prime example of such a delay. The agency says the EPA should complete chemical reviews within a reasonable amount of time and minimize the need for conducting several levels of rework.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

C8 Health Project Releases Raw Data on PFOA Exposure

Some of the most important and highly anticipated data from the C8 Health Project was released online this week.

The results posted include a summary of the concentrations of the manufacturing chemical known as C8 or PFOA detected in the blood of 70,000 local participants. The new information is available on the West Virginia University website. The summary of raw data confirms that the people who have consumed water from the Little Hocking Water Association display by far the highest exposure levels on average.

The health project detected an average of 83 parts per billion across the study population, but trends become more obvious when comparing participants by water district. The average in Little Hocking was 226 parts per billion. For people who lived in the Lubeck public service district 94 ppb was the average, in Belpre it was 43 ppb, Tuppers Plains 40 ppb, Pomeroy 15 ppb and participants from Mason County, West Virginia averaged 14 parts per billion.

Yet, the study also reveals some of the highest levels observed in human studies of perfluorinated chemicals. In fact, the highest level recorded in the project may be the highest concentration on record for a human exposed to C8. One Little Hocking resident tested as high as 22,412 parts per billion. A Lubeck resident exhibited a level of 17,557 parts per billion, a Tuppers Plains resident had a concentration of 8,162 parts per billion, and a Belpre resident tested at 7,932 parts per billion.

Industry studies show workers with elevated exposure levels, but they only go up to 5,000 parts per billion.

Project administrators warn against drawing health conclusions from the raw data. Little is known about what levels may prove to be "acceptable" or "harmful". Numerous scientific studies are underway to examine potential human health effects. The US EPA is trying to determine whether C8 should be classified as a “suggested” or “likely” carcinogen.

You can view the results online at:

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Elevated C8 Levels in 9/11 Responders

An article published in Science News last week revealed that elevated levels of four perfluorinated chemicals including C8 have been found in emergency workers who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11.

New biomonitoring results have revealed that the responders have levels about twice as high as expected in the general public. The tragedy exposed thousands of people to smoke and dust containing the remains of the burning towers and including dioxins, fire retardant chemicals, and construction materials.

Researchers examined the blood of 457 workers - state personnel and national guardsmen - who worked at the site. The data will be used as a baseline for further study of the responders.