The Importance Of Perfluorooctanoic Acid ( Pfoa )

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In the 1950’s DuPont, an American industrial conglomerate, started producing Teflon at its Washington Works Plant near Parkersburg, WV; a couple of hours southeast of Columbus, Ohio on the Ohio River. Teflon is a non-stick coating commonly found on water-resistant clothing, cookware, among other things. One of the main byproducts of Teflon is perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), more commonly known as C8. DuPont 's Washington Works plant released C8 into the air as well as the Ohio River until 2001, at which point abnormally high levels of the acid were detected in drinking water supplies throughout the river in Little Hocking, Ohio. The Little Hocking water system consists of five groundwater wells located immediately west (downstream) of the Ohio River and it took approximately 50 years for the C8 released into the Ohio River to reach the well fields. This is because contaminates were transferred via groundwater, which travels much slower than the river’s surface water. However, once the C8 had infiltrated the wells, an estimated 70,000 people were exposed to contaminated water. Shortly after the harmful levels of C8 were detected in the well fields, exposure to C8 was linked to cases of kidney cancer, testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disease, pregnancy induced hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. As a result, in 2005, customers of Little Hocking Water (LHWA) along with five other rural water systems (Lubeck Public Service District, West Virginia; City of

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