March 25, 2016
PARKERSBURG – A local doctor will go to The Netherlands to discuss C8 contamination in a town impacted by exposure from a chemical plant.
The situation in Dordrecht is like the Mid-Ohio Valley, except the contamination is not as well known, said Dr. Paul Brooks, one of three representatives from Keep Your Promises DuPont going to the Netherlands the first week of April. Dordrecht is 15 to 20 years behind the Mid-Ohio Valley in terms of response, he said.
“It totally hit them like a ton of bricks,” said Brooks.
C8, also called PFOA, was used by DuPont to make Teflon at the Washington Works, now operated by Chemours, and has been linked to six diseases, based on the study of health data from 70,000 residents from the region.
The health study was the result of the class action lawsuit against the company, among other requirements including medical monitoring and the installation of carbon filters in six water systems in the region.
Awareness of the contamination at Dordrecht from the former DuPont plant gained momentum after an article was published in the Netherlands in September, said Jeffrey Dugas of Keep Your Promises.
“It really was under the radar,” he said.
The Dordrecht Plant is now operated by Chemours, the spinoff company by DuPont, and makes fluoroproducts and is Chemours’ largest production facility in Europe. A comment from a Chemours or DuPont spokesman was not immediately returned.
Keep Your Promises has been critical of and in opposition to the proposed merger between Dow and DuPont and believes the C8 liability is beyond the financial wherewithal of Chemours.
The organization has been in contact with scientists, residents and activists from The Netherlands and an informal invitation was made to go there, Dugas said. The third person in the group is Mark Fleischman, president of the Action Network, which is affiliated with Keep Your Promises.
The group will leave the states on April 3, arrive on April 4, then return later in the week, Brooks said. The problem is international and is not constrained to the region, Brooks said.
The Mid-Ohio Valley has much in common with Dordrecht, he said. The plants there and at Washington Bottom both used C8 and made Teflon, and C8 has been found in the blood of workers there, Brooks said.
“The plant is identical to the Washington Works,” he said.
But in terms of addressing the problem, they are years behind, he said.
“They’re in the infancy of this,” Brooks said.
The hope is the experience and knowledge from the Mid-Ohio Valley can benefit the scientists, government officials and residents in the Netherlands, Brooks said.
“They don’t need to reinvent the wheel,” Brooks said.
Brooks’ company, Brookmar, conducted the health study of around 70,000 residents in the region. The scientific studies from the data indicate no concentration of C8 in the blood is safe, he said.