C8 medical monitoring details going out

PARKERSBURG – During the next few weeks, people who live in or lived in the areas where the water was found to contain high levels of C8 will receive information about how to obtain blood tests.

Harry Deitzler, the attorney who filed the original lawsuit against DuPont regarding the release of C8, said the first forms were mailed Tuesday and more will be mailed over the next few days.

Deitzler said unlike the initial C8 screenings, where Brookmar set up six places for people to be screened, they will be able to go to their physician.

Deitzler said the comprehensive C8 Medical Monitoring Program was created under the terms of a class action settlement between the impacted community residents and DuPont in 2005.

Under the terms of that settlement, DuPont agreed to pay the cost of medical monitoring for the affected residents. Research found the most serious diseases linked to C8 exposure are kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis and thyroid disease. Other conditions include pregnancy-induced hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

Details relating to each of the tests and procedures included within this new program, and class member eligibility and sign-up requirements, will be provided to class members in written notice packages being mailed this week and can be found by visiting the new program’s website, www.c-8medicalmonitoringprogram.com.

A toll-free call center has been set up to answer class member questions relating to the medical monitoring program at 1-888-499-2553. Additional information and details, along with contact information for the attorneys representing the class, can be found at www.c8claim.com.

In 2001, a lawsuit was filed claiming DuPont released the chemical C8 and it contaminated numerous private drinking water wells on the Ohio and West Virginia sides of the Ohio River, and water supplies for six public water systems, the Lubeck Public Service District, the Little Hocking Water Association, the City of Belpre, the Tuppers Plains-Chester Water District, the Village of Pomeroy and the Mason County Public Service District.

The director of medical monitoring will be holding a series of “town hall” meetings for class members to discuss the new program in September. Those meeting have been set for:

* 1 p.m. Sept. 22, at The Historic Lowe Hotel, 401 Main St., Point Pleasant

* 6 p.m. Sept. 22, at Meigs County High School, 42091 Pomeroy Pike, Pomeroy

* 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sept. 23, at the Blennerhassett Hotel, 320 Market St., Parkersburg

* 6 p.m. Sept. 23, at Belpre High School, 612 Third St., Belpre.

Highlights of the new C8 (PFOA) Medical Monitoring Program include free C8 (PFOA) blood testing, free in-person physician office visit, free cholesterol test and free screening and potential follow-up diagnostic tests for testicular cancer, kidney cancer and thyroid disease, Deitzler said.

The program was designed so class members can go to their own doctors in the HealthSmart provider network, which includes hundreds of area health care providers.

Extensive and comprehensive educational materials have been provided to these providers so they are prepared to assist class members during the free, in-person doctor’s visit to make informed decisions as to which aspects of the program best apply to their own, individual situation, Deitzler said.