Science Review Reveals West Va. Agency Policy Contradicted by Fed, Industry Research

A review of federal and industry science on the toxic industrial chemical commonly called C8 (perflouroctanoic acid, used to make Teflon) reveals that water pollution policy by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is far less protective than previous industry standards.

The findings, authored by the Washington-based research organization Environmental Working Group (EWG), undercut public assertions by state officials that their drinking water standards are based on sound science.

The DEP has set a contamination threshold of 150 parts per billion (ppb) of C8 in drinking water. State documents show that DuPont, which owns the factory that has leaked C8 into the area’s drinking water supplies, found that human exposure to C8 should not exceed 1 ppb. DuPont had earlier offered to replace water supplies for residents whose drinking water exceeds 14 ppb.

Remarkably, DEP studies were developed well after federal research and draft hazard assessments by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had been established.

EWG initiated the science review after learning that DEP Director Michael Callaghan had challenged those concerned about the drinking water contamination to base concerns on the science.

• Read our letter to the West Virginia DEP
• Read our science policy memo that details our findings

UPDATE: 15 NOV 2002

WV Agency To Review Scientific Concerns Raised by EWG
A Nov. 14 letter from DEP says Cabinet Secretary Callaghan will charge an agency science panel “with answering your [EWG’s] questions and addressing your scientific concerns about the C8 report.” The response comes the same day as EWG issued a review critical of DEP’s assessment of C8 contamination of tap water in Wood County.

• WV DEP's Response | WV DEP's News Release

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