By: JEFFREY SAULTON, The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
PARKERSBURG, WV – More oversight in the administration of the C8 Medical Monitoring Program was called for Wednesday.
In a press release the Keep Your Promises DuPont group announced it released an open letter to the C8 Medical Panel from a member of its advisory committee.
In the letter to Drs. Dean Baker, Melissa McDiarmid and Harold Sox, of the medical panel, Dr. Paul Brooks said more oversight of the medical monitoring program was needed to make sure local residents get the program promised under the terms of the settlement of the case claiming DuPont contaminated local water supplies with the chemical C8.
Robin Ollis-Stemple, DuPont’s regional public affairs manager, said the company has met its obligations under the settlement and will continue to do so.
“Several years ago, DuPont, working together with the local community, funded a comprehensive study to evaluate whether any probable links exist between a material no longer used in operation of our Washington Works facility and any disease,” she said. “We also committed to provide water filtration systems for six area water districts and fund a medical monitoring program for local residents.”
Brooks said it has come to the attention of Keep Your Promises DuPont that the C8 Medical Monitoring Program has failed to deliver medical monitoring to the population the program was created to help.
“The failure of this program to deliver the crucial and deserved service of medical monitoring for diseases linked to C8 exposure, including kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, high cholesterol (hypercholesterolemia), and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure (including preeclampsia) is a tragedy and a travesty for the affected population,” he said.
Without more oversight, Brooks said, many of the diseases reportedly linked to the chemical will not be discovered in time for individuals to recover.
“This is not what class members agreed to in the 2005 class action settlement with DuPont,” Brooks wrote. “After you were selected to develop and oversee the C8 Medical Monitoring Program, you were endorsed for your expertise in medical monitoring and announced by class counsel to the Mid-Ohio Valley. Your qualifications are not in question, which is why I am appealing to you today to exercise the appropriate oversight.”
Brooks said town hall meetings concerning the program were poorly advertised and were at times inconvenient to community members who are employed. He said as a result the meetings recorded low attendance.
“Next, Keep Your Promises revealed the conflict-of-interest between DuPont and the administrator of the program, Michael Rozen, who has earned nearly $10 million while paying out less than one percent of the $235 million fund. This conflict-of-interest demonstrates the need for external oversight of this program,” Brooks wrote.
“Now, Keep Your Promises has received reports that medical monitoring participants who followed all the required, convoluted steps of the process have not had their costs covered by the program. Participants have received bills for medical monitoring procedures that were to have been paid under the program yet have been left for the participants to pay.”
Brooks ended his letter asking for more oversight.
“I am appealing to the C8 Medical Panel today to ask you to commence oversight of this program to ensure that members of our community get the medical monitoring program that was promised to them,” Brooks wrote. “Our community members will continue to suffer without your oversight.
“We are happy to work with the Medical Panel to address these issues and ensure community members get the medical monitoring they were promised,” he stated.