C8 Science Panel Newsletter
C8 Science Panel Quarterly Newsletter #1
1. Science Panel e-Newsletter
1. Science Panel e-Newsletter
Welcome to our quarterly newsletter. Following our pilot issue last year, we have now decided to make our e-newsletter quarterly with concise updates of our activities and new publications. We will use this to bring you news and developments every 3 months, and focus in a little more detail on one or more specific aspects of our work program.
If the C8 Science Panel is new to you then you can find an overview of our work on the C8 Science Panel website. www.c8sciencepanel.org
The C8 Science Panel was chosen to determine whether a probable link exists between C8 (otherwise known as PFOA) and any human disease, as part of a class action settlement of a lawsuit involving releases of a chemical known as C8 from DuPont's Washington Works in Wood County, West Virginia. The Science Panel is made up of three scientists from universities in London, Atlanta and New York. They are Dr. Tony Fletcher, Dr. Kyle Steenland, and Dr. David Savitz.
2. Science Panel studies update
The science panel is running a series of related epidemiologic studies to gather more evidence to allow us to identify any links between C8 and diseases. Each quarter we update the website descriptions of them, and here we highlight some of the work we have been doing in the last 3 months.
We are currently collecting new data from community participants on 3 of our studies: the Study of C8 and Neurobehavioral Development among children from the C8 Health Project has been interviewing young children in the community since August last year and is described more below. Second, the Short Term Follow-up Study of C8 and Immune, Liver, Kidney and Endocrine Function, involves collecting new samples of blood from a sample of 800 people in the community. With these new results we can investigate how various clinical blood tests have changed as the C8 levels change over time. And thirdly, the second round of phone interviews in the Community and Worker follow up studies has just started and will continue for the next three months.
Meanwhile a major exposure modelling effort is nearly complete. All of these epidemiology studies rely on good exposure assessment – either direct measurement of exposure, or for past exposures or measures of cumulative lifetime exposure, a good estimate of how exposures have evolved. We have been making good progress in finalising the exposure model and the exposure study team has completed the first round of modelling exposure and blood levels of C8 in the population for the use in the various epidemiologic analyses.
The Science Panel was invited to present our work in progress at the EPA meeting PFAA Days III in North Carolina, June 2010. There were platform presentations from Tony Fletcher, Barry Ryan, Kyle Steenland, and Cheryl Stein with poster presentations in addition. Representatives of both Settling Parties were present.
3. Press and publicity
Tony Fletcher meets the Press, March 2009. Starting in April 2010, a sample of 800 people who were in the C8 Health Project have been invited to provide blood samples in the C8 Short Term Follow-up Study. The purpose of this study is to understand the relationship between exposure to C8 and various possible health effects with a focus on possible effects on the immune, liver, kidney, and endocrine systems. In March, on the occasion of staff training days, Science Panelist Tony Fletcher held a press briefing for local journalists to present the new facility and explain the study. This was reported in several local news media.
4. New publications
Publications on C8 with input from C8 Science Panelists, appearing in journals (online or in print) in recent months.
Epidemiologic evidence on the health effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Association of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) with uric acid among adults with elevated community exposure to PFOA.
Rate of decline in serum PFOA concentrations after granular activated carbon filtration at two public water systems in Ohio and West Virginia.
The C8 health project: design, methods, and participants.
A cross-sectional analysis of type II diabetes in a community with exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA).
Association of perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctane sulfonate with serum lipids among adults living near a chemical plant.
5. Quarterly focus
Study of C8 and Neurobehavioral Development among Children from the C8 Health Project – Update from the Field Team
The purpose of this study is to investigate whether exposure to C8 affects child development, specifically how a child learns and behaves compared to other children the same age. The study has been collecting data in SE Ohio and West Virginia for the past year. Our study staff is in the process of contacting by mail and telephone about 550 families with at least one child aged 6 to 12 years to ask them to participate in the study. From each eligible family, we invite one child and mother to participate.
Our researchers use customized Recreational Vehicles - RVs - as a quiet and distraction-free environment to conduct neurobehavioral assessments with mothers and children. There are two rooms in the RV so that the mother and child can be interviewed separately. The mother answers questions about her child’s health, behavior and home environment, as well as questions about her pregnancy. The mother also takes a short standardized test on vocabulary, similarities, and block design. At the same time, the child answers a questionnaire and plays reading, word, and number games with another interviewer. Each appointment lasts approximately two hours and over 250 appointments have been completed to date. The results of these interviews will help us determine whether there is a probable link between exposure to C8 and child neurobehavioral development.
Our field team feels that this is a unique experience due to the novel work environment. Although many of the families are familiar with campers, the children still seem to enjoy the novelty of working in a RV, as opposed to a sterile office setting. When we separate the mother and the child for their interviews with a sound-proof curtain, we explain to the child that there is a big window for him or her to see, wave at, or make faces at the mother, which usually gets a giggle from even the most solemn of participants. Frequently asked questions from the children include if we will come back the next day, if they can participate again and one of our favorite inquiries - if we live in the RV and if so, where do we sleep?
The communities have been as open and welcoming as the countryside has been breathtaking. As field researchers, we have enjoyed our time in the field as much as the families we’ve worked with have enjoyed participating. The opportunity to conduct important research in such a fun, unique environment is an unmatched experience.