The panel found the kidney cancer rate among residents exposed to higher levels of C8 was between 20 percent and 60 percent higher than lesser-exposed residents, depending on the chemical concentrations. For testicular cancer, rates were between 80 percent and 170 percent higher among residents with higher exposures, the panel said.
Panel members released their latest findings at a press conference at a hotel just outside Parkersburg, timing the event to start after copies of their findings were publicly filed with Wood Circuit Judge J.D. Beane.
In December, the Science Panel released its first probable link findings, reporting after a year-study study that scientific evidence shows C8 exposure likely causes high blood pressure among pregnant women.
The work of both panels is part of the 2005 settlement of a lawsuit filed against DuPont by Mid-Ohio Valley residents whose drinking water was contaminated with C8 by DuPont's nearby Washington Works plant.
Once the Science Panel determined there was a probable link between C8 exposure and any human illness, DuPont was on the hook for funding up to $235 million for future medical monitoring for area residents.
The term "probable link" isn't a standard one for scientists who study toxic chemical exposure. It's defined in the DuPont legal settlement as whether "based upon the weight of the available scientific evidence, it is more likely than not that there is a link between exposure to C8 and a particular human disease" among Mid-Ohio Valley residents taking part in the suit.
In a statement issued Monday, DuPont said, "A probable link report does not mean that the Science Panel has concluded that PFOA exposure has caused or will cause any human disease among the class members as a whole, including the Washington Works employees, or any individual."
Lawyers for residents, though, issued their own statement that said the latest Science Panel findings "nixed DuPont's protestations that PFOA is harmless."
"Today's scientific findings, coupled with the scientific panel's related findings in December, finally put to rest the long debate over whether PFOA is linked to any serious adverse health effects in humans," lawyers for the residents said. "It is has now been confirmed that human exposure to PFOA is linked to one of the most serious of human diseases -- cancer."
The Science Panel is schedule to release the rest of its probable link determinations in July.
Reach Ken Ward Jr. at kw...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1702.