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Panel finds link between chemical exposure and preeclampsia: Part 1

As part of a class action settlement involving the release of a chemical used by DuPont into Wood County, West Virginia, a panel of scientists was appointed to study the health effects the chemical could have on people exposed to it. The chemical is called C8, or perfluorooctanic acid or PFOA. The panel concluded that there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and preeclampsia.

The chemical was released from DuPont's Washington Works in Wood County. The chemical is used in the production of Teflon and non-stick products. C8 works as a processing agent in manufacturing fluoropolymers used in these products, according to The West Virginia Record.

The panel's conclusion that there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and risk of hypertension in pregnancy is the first assessment made by the panel. The panel will continue to evaluate different health problems and whether there is a probable link with exposure to C8.

The panel did not find a probable link between exposure to C8 and the incidence of birth defects, low birth weight in infants, miscarriage or stillbirth.

A settlement was reached in the class-action lawsuit in 2005. As part of the settlement, DuPont had to pay for the health assessment project as well as install a water treatment center to clean nearly all the C8 out if the water supply. The company will be responsible for the medical needs of members of the class action lawsuit if more probable links are found between C8 and health problems.

The next post will further discuss this issue.

Source: The West Virginia Record, "C8 panel finds link between DuPont chemical, preeclampsia," Jessica M. Karmasek, Dec. 6, 2011

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