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Researchers report finding "no relationship" between elevated blood levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA, also known as C8) among a group of exposed Ohio residents and certain health problems.
As detailed by the lead investigator in the independent epidemiological study in an Aug. 15 public meeting in the affected area, people with C8 blood levels 60 to 80 times higher than the national average showed no indication of abnormalities in liver, kidney and thyroid function or in cholesterol status.
Edward Emmett, a University of Pennsylvania Medical School professor, also reported to residents of four southern Ohio communities served by the Little Hocking Water Association (LHWA) that the research team found the highest C8 levels in young children and people over 60 years of age and "much lower levels" among people using bottled water or spring water as their primary source of drinking water.
Emmett had earlier reported that C8-contaminated drinking water was the major source of elevated C8 blood levels among a random sample of 326 people from 160 households in the communities served by LHWA, which first discovered the problem in early 2002. All four communities are across the Ohio River from a DuPont facility that uses C8 in certain manufacturing processes.
Expressing concern about the high levels found among children, Emmett urged parents "to consider taking appropriate measures to reduce C8 levels in their children's blood serum by using an alternative drinking water source, such as bottled water, if their primary residential water source contains high levels of C8. I also advise consideration of the same precaution for pregnant women and women of child-bearing age who may wish to become pregnant."
LHWA, which has been working with DuPont and USEPA to mitigate the C8 contamination, recently announced that DuPont has agreed to cover the cost of providing LHWA's 12,000 customers with bottled water for the next several months until a DuPont-funded granular-activated-carbon treatment system is installed to remove C8 from the water supply.
DuPont, which also announced Emmett's findings, has dramatically decreased air and water discharges of C8 from its plant and conducted numerous related research projects of its own in recent years. The company has stated, "PFOA exposure does not pose any health risk to the general public. To date no human health effects are known to be caused by PFOA even in workers who have significantly higher exposure levels than the general population."