Below are answers to some questions people have asked about the background of C-8 use in the Mid-Ohio Valley and the lawsuits, settlements, and programs that have emerged because of C-8. We hope they are helpful resources, but this is just a start! If you have additional questions or comments not answered on this page, please email us at [email protected]
How long has C-8 been poisoning our community?
Perfluorooctanoic acid (also known as PFOA or C-8) was used at DuPont’s Washington Works plant in Parkersburg, WV for more than 50 years, beginning in 1951.
DuPont knew about the dangers of C-8. The company began conducting toxicity studies on rats in the 1950s and started testing workers at the Parkersburg plant for C-8 exposure in the 1970s. In fact, in 1978 DuPont was “disturbed” that C-8 might be having “toxic effects” on its Washington Works employees. However, this information was not made public.
By the time regulators became interested, DuPont had decades of internal research on C-8’s dangers and knew exposure levels exceeded its own community standards. Nonetheless, DuPont continued production and said it would cease all use of C-8 in the U.S. by 2015.
Has DuPont faced legal action for exposing people to C-8?
Yes. In 2001, a class-action lawsuit was filed against DuPont (Jack Leach et al. v. E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Co., Civil Action No. 01-C-608). In February 2005, the WV Circuit Court approved a settlement that created the C-8 Health Project, which tested nearly 70,000 people in the Greater Mid-Ohio Valley.
The settlement also established a three-member Science Panel of independent epidemiologists who determined based on the C-8 Health Project’s data that C-8 exposure has a probable link to six diseases, including:
- High cholesterol
- Pregnancy-induced hypertension and preeclampsia
- Ulcerative colitis
- Testicular cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Thyroid disease
Thousands of people who have become ill with these diseases have since filed claims against DuPont.
Am I protected by this settlement?
You were included in the class-action suit if you lived or worked in six water districts:
- Little Hocking, Ohio
- Belpre, Ohio
- Village of Pomeroy, Ohio
- Tuppers Plains, Ohio
- Lubeck Public Service District, West Virginia
- Mason County Public Service District, West Virginia
You were also included if you drank water for at least a year before December 4, 2005 from a private well included on this list.
The Parkersburg Water District, the largest in the region, was not included as part of the class-action settlement that required DuPont to provide water treatment. The lawsuit settlement required DuPont to provide treatment or alternative water supplies if the tested water had more than 0.05 parts per billion of C-8. When tested, Parkersburg’s water supply was measured at 0.049 parts per billion, just under the threshold.
Who can file a claim against DuPont?
As people in the affected communities test positive for the diseases found to be correlated with C-8 exposure, many have filed personal injury lawsuits against Dupont.
Anyone is eligible to file a personal injury claim if they can confirm that:
- They consumed the water from one of the six affected water districts or from one of the hundreds of private wells (included on this list) for at least one year prior to December 4, 2004, and
- They suffered from one of the six linked diseases identified under the 2005 settlement.
Thousands of people who were diagnosed with one of the six linked diseases have filed claims.
How was the Medical Monitoring Program formed? What is the status of the program?
*To learn how to sign up for Medical Monitoring, go to the main Medical Monitoring page.*
The settlement was successful in establishing a $235 million fund to ensure that members of the Greater Mid-Ohio Valley community can access medical monitoring at no cost.
As you may remember, nearly 70,000 residents of the Valley were successfully tested as part of the C-8 Health Project administered by Brookmar, Inc., a local company formed to carry out the testing. With the data from testing community members for C-8 exposure, the Science Panel determined a “probable link” between C-8 exposure and six diseases. A Medical Monitoring Program was created to provide the medical screening of people who were exposed to C-8 in their drinking water.
The Medical Monitoring Program is now directed by the NYC-based law firm Feinberg Rozen, LLP, and Brookmar, Inc. is no longer involved.
Per the terms of the 2005 settlement, the medical monitoring is provided to community members at no cost as a way to monitor their health for diseases linked to C-8 exposure.