PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- Members of a three-person science team promised Monday night that Mid-Ohio Valley residents would soon get answers about whether the chemical C8 is making them sick.
"We will be reaching a lot of conclusions soon," said Kyle Steenland, an Emory University scientist and C8 Science Panel member.
Steenland and the two other panel members held their first-ever public meeting Monday night, pushed by a local judge to tell residents more about their work.
Several dozen residents turned out for the meeting at Blennerhassett Middle School, to quiz Science Panel members about potential links between C8 and high cholesterol, learning disabilities in kids, and how long it takes the human body to rid itself of the chemical.
The scientists declined to provide any new data or conclusions from their ongoing work, saying that more reports would be coming out between now and a final product sometime next year.
"This is about what I expected," said local resident Joe Kiger, a lead plaintiff in the suit that forced DuPont to fund the panel's work, and a consistent critic of the speed of the scientists' studies. "We're not going to get any solid answers right now."
Science Panel members are working to implement a key provision of a more than $100 million class-action settlement between DuPont and about 70,000 residents whose drinking water was polluted by C8 from the company's Washington Works plant south of Parkersburg.
C8 is another name for perfluorooctanoate acid, or PFOA. In West Virginia, DuPont has used C8 since the 1950s as a processing agent to make Teflon and other nonstick products, oil-resistant paper packaging and stain-resistant textiles.
DuPont and other companies have reduced their emissions and agreed on a voluntary phase-out of the chemical, but researchers are still concerned about a growing list of possible health effects and about the chemical's presence in consumer products, as well as continued pollution from waste disposal practices.
The panel members were appointed to study C8 and determine if there is a "probable link" between exposure and illness. If they conclude there is,