February 14, 2016 | by Dr. Paul Brooks

Last Thursday, Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp reported that sampling of Vienna drinking water has revealed C-8 contamination in excess of 0.1 parts per billion, which is the EPA’s guideline for C-8 contamination in drinking water. We appreciate the mayor’s transparent and speedy efforts to address this issue, and we support any solution that makes Vienna’s water safe to drink. Whatever the solution, DuPont, the corporate polluter who dumped C-8 into our water for decades and recently left town, must be held accountable.

C-8 exposure from drinking water is linked to cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, and other serious illnesses. Just a decade ago, DuPont was forced to filter drinking water in Little Hocking, Belpre, Pomeroy, Tuppers Plains, Lubeck, and Mason County to remove harmful levels of C-8 contamination resulting from the company’s decades-long practice of dumping C-8 into the Ohio River and landfills where it leached into the water we drink every day.

Our water must be filtered as well, and DuPont, the company that contaminated it, must be held accountable.

In a response to the news about Vienna’s contaminated drinking water, attorney Harry Deitzler stated, “In our settlement for Lubeck and others, DuPont agreed to clean the water through carbon filtering. I think they will do it for Vienna too; it would shock me if they wouldn’t because we had the same thing.”

DuPont must clean up the mess it left behind, it must institute medical monitoring for C-8-linked diseases throughout the Mid-Ohio Valley, and it must act quickly before it’s too late. The longer the company drags its feet, the more children, mothers, fathers, friends, and neighbors will get sick from C-8-linked diseases. And sadly, Vienna is not the only community that needs filtration and medical monitoring.

In September 2015, we sent a letter to local authorities in communities bordering the Ohio River in West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky to warn them that the latest science indicates that C-8 contamination poses a serious public health risk to their communities. We cited a 2013 University of Cincinnati study that discovered C-8 contamination in northern Kentucky – 200 miles downriver from Vienna and DuPont’s former Washington Works facility, the source of the Mid-Ohio Valley’s C-8 contamination.

According to the latest science, released last year by leading researchers from Harvard and the University of Massachusetts, C-8 exposure is harmful at levels as low as 0.003 parts per billion, less than a teaspoon in an Olympic-sized pool. At levels that low, it’s safe to say that the only safe level of C-8 in water and human blood is zero.

We urge officials in communities along the Ohio River as far as Cincinnati to test drinking water for C-8. When this contamination is discovered, DuPont, the polluter responsible for endangering hundreds of thousands with this harmful chemical, must be held accountable.

It appears that Vienna officials are doing what they can to protect residents from C-8, but they should not be forced to pay for the damage that DuPont left behind. We demand that DuPont filter our water for the sake of our families, our neighbors, and the future generations who will call Vienna home.

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