C8 Science Panel Found Link to Pregnancy Ailments

preeclampsia link to C8 water contaminationResidents of the Mid-Ohio Valley, who live in the region close to Parkersburg, WV, may have been unknowingly exposed to a dangerous chemical that was emitted from a manufacturing facility in the area and is causing pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) (high blood pressure) and preeclampsia, a specific type of PIH, in members of the population there.

Reports in recent months have shown the Mid-Ohio Valley residents may also have a disease link to kidney cancer and testicular cancer, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and ulcerated colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) due to their exposure to the chemical, C8.

A three-member panel, the C8 Science Panel, was established by the Wood County, WV Court in that locality to study the health effects of the chemical on human beings.  C8 was released from the Washington Works factory in that region over a period of years and contaminated certain areas of the Valley’s drinking supplies. The report on PIH and preeclampsia was the second major report on a probable link between C8 and illness released during the panel’s study.

The three members of the C8 Science Panel were epidemiologists who had extensive experience in designing and performing health studies.  They were experts on various types of environmental diseases and how they affect the human body.   The panel was required to report its findings to the local court as part of a class action settlement that Mid-Valley residents reached with E.I. DuPont, owners of Washington Works, in 2004.

Ultimately, the panel would study 12 categories of disease and their possible connection to C8 contamination in the region.  This would turn out to be one of the most comprehensive studies ever done on the effects of C8 on human health.  Over an eight-year period scientists collected and analyzed the data of more than 70,000 men, women and children who wanted to know if the contamination of their water had affected their health.

C8 is the common name given to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).  This man-made chemical has been used to produce everyday products such as stain-resistant carpets, non-stick cookware and water-repellent clothing.

Although the C8 Science Panel has been studying birth outcomes, possibly related to the presence of C8 for several years, more than 15,000 women of the Mid-Valley were interviewed and tested in 2009 and 2010 concerning reproductive information dating over a five-year period from 2005 and 2006.  A “probable link” between PIH, preeclampsia and C8 was not announced until December 2011.  Further news was released on the birth studies in May 2012, but there were no additional “pregnancy outcomes” discovered.

If it was “more probable than not” C8 was linked to a particular illness in the area’s population, that disease was categorized as having a “probable link” to C8 contamination.  Several diseases were studied where there was not enough evidence to find a probable link.

Four types of health concerns related to pregnancy were studied.  The subjects studied were living in the areas with elevated C8 exposure or were members of the C8 Health Project, persons who had filed the class action law suit against DuPont.

The analyses of Health Project participants showed slightly higher elevations in risk of pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH) among those with the highest exposure to PFOAAlthough risk did not always increase progressively as PFOA levels increased, the Science Panel believed there was enough evidence to conclude there was a link between C8 and PIH.

Pregnancy-induced hypertension is defined as significantly elevated blood pressure that begins after the 20th week of pregnancy.  Preeclampsia is a specific type of pregnancy-induced hypertension accompanied by leakage of protein into the urine.

The evidence to evaluate the probable link between PFOA exposure and PIH comes from various studies using data such as residential data, measured serum PFOA, self-reported pregnancy conditions, data from birth certificates and historically estimated serum PFOA studies.

When the analysis was restricted to more recent pregnancies, the association between the serum PFOA and preeclampsia was strengthened helping to lead to the “probable link” designation.  

PIH and preeclampsia may result in low birth weight or preterm delivery as well as more serious and even fatal health problems for the mother and fetus, including strokes and stillbirth.

To learn more about legal representation available to persons who believe that may have been C8 victims, please contact the Ohio law firm of Slater & Zurz LLP for a free consultation and find out if you have a claim involving C8 and your healthContact the firm at 1-888-534-4850 or go to their website and fill out a FREE CASE REVIEW form.  The website is located at www.slaterzurz.com.

This will not be a class action lawsuit.  Slater & Zurz LLP is representing people individually.

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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