PARKERSBURG — Residents from Huntington to Evansville, Ind., have higher-than-normal levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8, according to a study released this month from the University of Cincinnati.
The report, based on the analyses of blood samples collected over 22 years, said the exposure source was likely from drinking water affected by industrial discharges flowing downriver. The study was in the last issue of “Environmental Pollution.”
The conclusions in the study were no surprise to Dr. Paul Brooks, whose company, Brookmar, spearheaded the collection of health data from around 70,000 people in the region used by the C8 Science Panel, created in 2005 in the settlement of the classaction lawsuit against DuPont, that determined there was a probable link between C8 and six diseases in humans.
“It’s exactly what we expected,” Brooks said.
The study showed drinking water from the Ohio River and Ohio River Aquifer, affected by industrial discharges from 130 to 415 miles upstream, is likely the primary exposure source. Granulated activated charcoal filters mitigate, but don’t eliminate concentration, the study said.
Carbon filters were initially installed in six local water districts from the original C8 settlement and installed in the city of Vienna in 2016 when the Environmental Protection Agency set a long-term concentration level of .07 parts per billion.
However, while the water supply is not above that level in Parkersburg, wastewater with C8 continues to be discharged into the Ohio River and flows to points downriver, including Cincinnati, where the water supply is fed by the river, Brooks said. Millions of gallons of water a day are going into the river from Parkersburg, he said.
“I don’t understand why people here aren’t angrier,” Brooks said.