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Study Begins On Chemical Used To Make Teflon

Sep 2, 2004 | AP

About 300 people have agreed to participate in a four-year study that aims to determine whether there are health risks associated with exposure to a chemical used to make Teflon.

Environmental officials say the DuPont Co.'s plant near Parkersburg, W.Va., across the Ohio River from southeast Ohio, has contaminated area drinking water supplies with the chemical C8, also known as ammonium perfluorooctanoate.

The National Institutes of Health has given doctors an $841,000 grant to study 400 people who live in the Little Hocking water district.

About 300 people, who were selected by randomly mailed invitations, have agreed to participate so far. The study also has asked for 10 lactating women to volunteer samples of blood and breast milk.

Preliminary results could be available by the end of the year.

Ohio and West Virginia residents who claim the plant knowingly contaminated water supplies filed a class-action lawsuit in 2001 against DuPont on behalf of up to 50,000 people who live nearby. That case is set for trial Oct. 11 in Wood County, W.Va., Circuit Court.

DuPont said in its quarterly report in July that it has set aside $45 million to defend itself against the lawsuit. The company maintains the chemical poses people no health risks, but recently began an internal investigation into the health of its employees and C8 levels in their bloodstreams.

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