PARKERSBURG, W.Va. -- A panel of doctors has released its recommended protocols for medical monitoring of mid-Ohio Valley residents exposed to a toxic chemical used by a DuPont plant in Wood County.The three-member C8 Medical Panel was formed as part of a 2005 class-action settlement of a lawsuit that claimed water supplies in Ohio and West Virginia were contaminated with perfluorooctanoic acid, also known as C8. DuPont uses C8 at its Washington Works plant near Parkersburg.A separate C8 Science Panel formed under the settlement has found probable links between C8 and six health issues, including thyroid disease, high cholesterol, testicular and kidney cancers, pregnancy-induced hypertension and ulcerative colitis. Its findings were based on studies of data collected from about 70,000 residents.The medical panel's report, filed Friday in Wood County Circuit Court, addresses protocols for initial screening and diagnostic testing. It also recommends that data be collected on the medical monitoring programs to determine whether any future changes are needed, said Harry Deitzler, an attorney for Parkersburg-area plaintiffs.
The medical panel also plans to create educational materials about the benefits and harms of screening to help residents who are eligible for the program, Deitzler said in a news release issued Saturday night.A plan and process to implement the screening and testing program will be developed by Michael Rozen, the court-appointed director of medical monitoring, and Brookmar, Inc.Under the settlement, DuPont agreed to pay as much as $235 million on medical monitoring programs to help detect the onset of C8-linked diseases among eligible residents. The company also agreed to provide treatment to remove the chemical from local water systems."On behalf of the impacted residents, we thank the Medical Panel for its significant efforts to provide this important new medical information and testing program to the community so quickly after the final list of diseases linked to PFOA exposure was released," attorney Robert Bilott, who also represents plaintiffs in the case, said in the news release.The science panel released its final report in October 2012.