PARKERSBURG – As of this week, tens of thousands of Mid-Ohio Valley-area residents who were exposed to C8 in drinking water are able to apply for a free C8 blood test and free medical screening to uncover diseases linked to C8 exposure.
The comprehensive C8 Medical Monitoring Program was created under the terms of a class action settlement between the impacted community residents and DuPont in 2005.
Under the terms of the settlement, DuPont agreed to pay the cost of medical monitoring for the affected residents. The most serious diseases linked to C8 exposure are kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis and thyroid disease. Other linked health conditions include pregnancy induced hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.
Attorney Harry Deitzler, who was one of the lead attorneys in the case for the plaintiffs, said details relating to each of the tests and procedures included within this new C8 (PFOA) Medical Monitoring Program and class member eligibility and sign-up requirements, will be provided to class members in written notice packages being mailed this week and can be found by visiting the new program website at www.C-
Deitzler – who is a partner at Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler in Charleston – also said a toll-free call center has been activated to answer class member questions relating to the medical monitoring program at 1-888-499-2553, and he said the director of medical monitoring will have a series of “town hall” meetings for class members to discuss the new program later in September.
Additional information and details, along with contact information for the attorneys representing the class, can be found at www.c8claim.com.
DuPont used C8 (PFOA) at its Washington Works plant located along the Ohio River in Wood County, and C8 released from that plant eventually contaminated numerous private drinking water wells on both the Ohio and West Virginia sides of the river and six public drinking water supplies serving tens of thousands of area residents on both sides of the river.
That led to a class action being filed against DuPont in 2001, which generated the 2005 settlement. Following the 2005 settlement and a 2006 release from a United States Environmental Protection Agency Science Advisory Board report recommending that C8 (PFOA) be characterized as a “likely” carcinogen, DuPont agreed to phase-out its use of C8 (PFOA) nationwide and, by the end of 2013, had notified the United States Environmental Protection Agency that it had completed that phase-out.
“Today’s official roll out of the C8 (PFOA) Medical Monitoring Program marks the culmination of several years of intensive, independent scientific research into the impact of DuPont’s C8 pollution on the tens of thousands of area residents who unwittingly were exposed to that toxic chemical in their drinking water," said Rob Bilott, one of the plaintiffs' class counsel. "We are pleased that this unique class settlement has, not only provided for removal of C8 from that water and an independent scientific answer to the question of whether this C8 exposure is linked to disease, but will also now provide free, comprehensive medical screening and testing of eligible class members to help detect the onset of these diseases before they cause any more harm.
"We encourage all class members to apply to gain access to these important health benefits.”
Under the agreement, DuPont agreed to pay for treatment of impacted area drinking water supplies to remove the C8 and agreed to pay for completely independent, comprehensive scientific studies to determine whether there are any “probable links” between exposure to the C8-contaminated drinking water and serious disease among those class members.
DuPont further agreed under this innovative and unique “science-based” settlement that, if such “probable links” were found, DuPont would pay the costs of whatever medical monitoring was found by independent medical experts to be appropriate to detect the possible on-set of such disease, up to a total of $235 million. Those class members suffering from any such disease would then have the right to pursue their own, individual personal injury and/or wrongful death claims against DuPont for such disease.
DuPont further agreed under the settlement that, in any such individual personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit pursed by class members, it would not dispute that C8 (PFOA) can cause any such linked disease.
The "town hall" meetings are scheduled for:
* Sept. 22, 1 pm, at The Historic Lowe Hotel, 401 Main St., Point Pleasant;
* Sept. 22, 6 p.m., at Meigs County High School, 42091 Pomeroy Pike, Pomeroy, Ohio;
* Sept. 23, 8 a.m., at the Blennerhassett Hotel, 320 Market St., Parkersburg;
* Sept. 23, 1 p.m., at the Blennerhassett Hotel, 320 Market St., Parkersburg; and
* Sept. 23, 6 p.m., at Belpre High School, 612 Third Street, Belpre, Ohio.