Many questions remain about the C8 contamination that has spread through the valley as a result of industrial activity at DuPont Washington Works near Parkersburg, West Virginia. For instance, the controversy began with the deaths of an entire herd of cattle, yet the company is so far refusing to provide EPA-requested testing of local cattle, locally grown produce, and many other sets of environmental monitoring data promised more than a decade ago.
C8, also known as PFOA or perfluorooctanoic acid, was detected in local drinking water supplies in 2001 and 2002. The discovery led to a class action lawsuit against DuPont brought by local water consumers who feared health effects from exposure to the manmade surfactant.
As a result of the class action lawsuit settlement, an independent panel of epidemiologists known as the C8 Science Panel determined after several years of study that C8 exposure is linked to pre-eclampsia, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, and kidney and testicular cancer. Dozens of area residents who have fallen ill are in the process of filing personal injury claims against the company, which will be handled as multi-district litigation in federal court.
This week, Cincinnati attorney Robert Bilott, who was the lead attorney for the class in the groundbreaking C8 suit, is urging the US EPA to force DuPont to provide the promised monitoring in order to “address ongoing threats to human health and the environment”.
Prior to the class action lawsuit, Bilott represented the Tennant family — a Washington, West Virginia family of farmers who lost their entire herd of 280 cattle to a mysterious wasting disease. His investigation into the cattle deaths led to the discovery of C8, or PFOA, in local water supplies including Belpre, Tuppers Plains, Little Hocking and Pomeroy, Ohio — and Lubeck and Mason County, West Virginia.
Yet, more than a decade after the deadly controversy came to light, in many ways the extent of the contamination remains unknown. The impact on local cattle, hens, milk, eggs and produce remains largely unmeasured.
Read the full story: Pomeroy Daily Sentinel - Bilott DuPont largely ignored EPA on C8 issues