PARKERSBURG, WV – The community-based organization Keep Your Promises Dupont released an open letter the C-8 Medical Panel asking for oversight in the court-mandated C-8 Medical Monitoring Program.
The monitoring program was established after a toxic chemical known as C-8, in community water supplies near the DuPont Washington Works plant just south of Parkersburg. A member of the group’s advisory committee, retired physician Dr. Paul Brooks, authored the letter.
“Our concern is that the medical panel, they should be made aware that individuals that were exposed are not getting what they were supposed to get. We’re pleading with them to step in a resolve the reasons for the low participation.” Brooks said.
The letter cites issues with the monitoring program’s administration such as inadequate publicity, high fees paid to administrators, and low payout to community members.
$235 million is set aside to assist community members with health monitoring. Ten years after Dupont agreed in a settlement to compensate exposed community members and provide means for continuous health monitoring, less than one present of that fund has been used within the community.
Drs. Dean Baker, Melissa McDiarmid, and Harold Sox:
It has come to our attention that the C-8 Medical Monitoring Program has failed time and again to effectively deliver medical monitoring to the population the program was created to help: class members in the Mid-Ohio Valley who have been exposed to the harmful chemical C-8.
The failure of this program to deliver the crucial and deserved service of medical monitoring for diseases linked to C-8 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. Without an effectively administered medical monitoring program, many of the aforementioned diseases will be discovered too late for individuals to recover. This is not what class members agreed to in the 2005 class action settlement with DuPont.
After you were selected to develop and oversee the C-8 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.
First, there was the issue of insufficient publicity for the program. The handful of town hall meetings held at inconvenient times for working people were poorly attended. The notice packets mailed to class members about the program were dense, full of legal jargon, and not easily understood by anyone who is not a trained attorney.
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.
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.
I am appealing to you today to commence oversight of this program to ensure that members of our community get the medical monitoring program that was promised to them. Our community members will continue to suffer without your oversight.
Dr. Paul Brooks
Keep Your Promises DuPont Advisory Committee