CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A science panel has found probable links between Mid-Ohio Valley residents' exposure to a chemical used by a DuPont plant in West Virginia, and both thyroid disease and ulcerative colitis, a type of inflammatory bowel disease, attorneys for the residents said Monday.
The C8 Science Panel also found no probable links between the chemical, also known as or perfluorooctanoic acid, and several other health issues. Those include stroke, influenza, asthma, chronic obstructive airway disease, lupus, Type 1 diabetes, Crohn's disease, multiple sclerosis, and attention deficit disorders and learning disabilities in children.
The findings were the latest released by the panel on studies of data collected from about 70,000 residents. The three-member science panel was formed in 2005 as part of a class-action settlement of a lawsuit that claimed water supplies were contaminated in Ohio and West Virginia.
Earlier, the panel concluded there's a probable link between the chemical and testicular and kidney cancers, and pregnancy-induced hypertension. The researchers also have eliminated any link between C8 and 19 other types of cancer.
The panel expects to submit its final report in October.
"We commend the Science Panel for their continuing hard work to resolve these very important and difficult scientific questions for the community," said Robert Bilott, an attorney for the residents.
Plaintiffs' attorney Harry Deitzler has said the probable links require DuPont to spend as much as $235 million on medical monitoring programs to help detect the onset of C8-linked diseases among residents in the settlement. A medical panel will determine what extent of monitoring may be appropriate.
DuPont also agreed under the settlement to pay for upgrades to drinking water treatment systems.
The company uses C8 at its Washington Works plant near Parkersburg. DuPont plans to stop making and using C8 by 2015.
DuPont has defended its actions to minimize C8 exposure. On Monday, the company said it "will continue to meet its obligations under the West Virginia litigation. DuPont will evaluate additional information from the Science Panel as part of our long-standing commitment to the safety of our employees and customers and to responsible environmental and product stewardship."