March 3, 2016 | By Jeffrey Saulton

PARKERSBURG – Recent actions by environmental regulators in Vermont have a local environmental watchdog group calling for the use of the same C8 standards.

Keep Your Promises DuPont said Tuesday that Vermont authorities are warning residents there to not drink water with a C8 contamination level of more than .02 parts per billion (ppb). Recent testing of drinking water in Vienna and Parkersburg has registered levels of C8 contamination higher than the level the Vermont Department of Health now deems safe.

In its advisory issued last week, the Vermont Department of Health stated “if water contains more than 20 parts per trillion (or 0.02 ppb), it should not be used for drinking, food preparation, cooking, tooth brushing, or any other way it could be ingested.”

“Just last week we learned that Vienna’s drinking water is contaminated with C8 at over 0.1 ppb, and the latest tests of Parkersburg’s drinking water revealed contamination over 0.06 ppb, which are results that demonstrate a clear and present danger to residents in our community,” said Keep Your Promises adviser Dr. Paul Brooks. “Our water must be filtered, and our public officials must follow Vermont’s example and set an adequate guideline for C8 contamination,” Brooks said.

Robin Ollis Stemple, regional public affairs manager for The Chemours Co., said the U.S. EPA is aware of the recent data from Wood County.

“The data is below the U.S. EPA provisional health advisory. U.S. EPA has not yet announced formally a permanent health advisory, but Chemours has been and will continue to work with U.S. EPA to understand this information and assess any further action,” she said. “Until the company has the opportunity to discuss these matters further with U.S. EPA as part of the regulatory process, we have no further comment on specific next steps.”

DuPont phased out the use of C8, or perfluorooctanoic acid, in 2013.

Keep Your Promises DuPont said the action in Vermont demonstrates what it sees as a clear need for communities in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio that have tested at similar or higher levels to filter drinking water immediately.

“Vermont Department of Health’s new guideline is a huge step in the right direction towards protecting public health, and officials in West Virginia, Kentucky and Ohio must follow suit,” Brooks said.

“We know for a fact C8 is harmful and our drinking water is contaminated. There is an immediate need to begin the process for filtration of the water supply and the implementation of a meaningful medical monitoring program to protect our citizens. At this point, the use of bottled water for drinking and cooking should be advised,” Brooks said.

In West Virginia and Ohio, spokeswomen for state regulators said they are still using the previous federal guidelines of water with less than .4 ppb of C8 as safe. A spokeswoman for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection said the state does not have a standard for C8 in surface water.

A science panel funded by DuPont as part of the settlement of the lawsuit found probable links between C8 exposure and kidney cancer, high cholesterol, thyroid disease, testicular cancer, inflammatory bowel disease and high blood pressure in pregnant women.