Important Toxic Soup update. The C8 (PFOA) water contamination case that was brought to light by concerned citizen Joe Kiger and was covered in Toxic Soup is making headlines again. The C8 Science Panel has linked C8 to testicular and kidney cancer. Below journalist Callie Lyons, who also features in Toxic Soup, explains the finding in her own words:
An independent panel of three epidemiologists have concluded that exposure to the manufacturing substance known as C8 or PFOA is linked to two types of cancer in Mid Ohio Valley residents.
The C8 Science Panel released their new findings on Monday morning. It‘s the latest development in the class action lawsuit brought by local residents against DuPont over the presence of the manufacturing chemical PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, in their drinking water. As a result of the findings, a medical panel has been established to determine what type of medical monitoring is appropriate for class members.
The class action lawsuit involved residents who lived in areas served by six public water supplies including Belpre, Pomeroy, Tuppers Plains, Little Hocking, Mason County, Ohio and Lubeck, West Virginia. However, since that time, C8 has reportedly been found along every mile of the Ohio River.
What began as the C8 Health Project has become the largest study ever undertaken to determine the link between PFOA exposure and cancer. An analysis of 21 types of cancer yielded two probable link findings.
The Science Panel, Dr. Kyle Steenland, Dr. Tony Fletcher, and Dr. David Savitz, mapped the areas of analysis to reveal a trend across exposure groups. Fletcher said the groups with the highest exposure exhibited the highest risk of testicular and kidney cancer.
“The trend of increase is quite strong,” explained Steenland, who described the trend as “unlikely due to chance or bias”.
A similar trend was observed with prostate cancer, but fewer cases of the disease were involved in the study.
Fletcher said the newly released information is supported by earlier findings of studies performed on workers and effects observed in lab animals.
Through the review of medical records and the state cancer registry, the panel validated 2,420 diagnoses of primary cancer. Based on past emissions from DuPont and the residential history of study subjects, the panel estimated the levels of C8 in the blood of study subjects over time. They found a “reasonably consistent and strong relationship” between past exposure and testicular and kidney cancer — both considered rare diseases. Science panel data included 19 confirmed cases of testicular cancer and 113 confirmed cases of kidney cancer.
Steenland warned that there are “limitations that should be recognized”. For instance, participants displayed only a few cases of certain cancers like pancreatic and liver cancers, so there may have been inadequate data for a probable link finding. However, in the case of breast cancer, Steenland said there was plenty of information to draw a conclusion, but no link was found.
Other findings released Monday revealed no probable link between the onset of adult diabetes and C8 exposure.
Last December, the Science Panel announced their first probable link finding – tying pregnancy-induced hypertension to C8 exposure.
The C8 Science Panel will complete their work and release the remainder of their findings by the end of July. However, it seems likely that scientific research related to the data will continue.
“We believe this population should be followed over time,” Steenland said.
According to class counsel Harry Deitzler, class members who already suffer from linked diseases are now permitted to pursue personal injury or wrongful death claims against DuPont related to those specific diseases.
“We are pleased that the community now has some definitive answers to their concerns about whether they have been put at risk for serious adverse health effects because of their exposure to PFOA in their drinking water,” said Rob Bilott, class counsel.