A panel of scientific experts has concluded that a chemical in Teflon, developed by DuPont, is probably linked to at least two types of cancer.
According to a report by the C8 Science Panel (PDF) issued on April 15, there is probable link between C8, also known as ammonium perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), kidney cancer and testicular cancer.
The report disqualified the likelihood of a link between C8 and diabetes, thyroid cancer and melanoma, however.
The C8 Science panel consists of three epidemiologists and was created as part of a 2005 settlement agreement reached in West Virginia Circuit Court between DuPont and six water districts who filed a toxic tort lawsuit over C8 chemical releases from its Washington Works facility in Wood County, West Virginia. The panel was ordered to evaluate whether C8 increased health risks for local residents who were exposed to it.
C8 is used in the production of Teflon, a high-tensile strength, heat resistant material used to create no-stick surfaces and lightweight military armor.
DuPont has responded to the findings by saying that a “probable link” does not mean that the chemical releases caused anyone to get sick, and said it has been working to reduce PFOA exposure to local residents and employees for years.
The panel conducted a study of more than 28,000 residents and 4,000 DuPont workers and determined that there was a statistically significant increase in the incidences of testicular cancer and kidney cancer, which was likely linked to C8 exposure.
Panelists said there were slight indications that there could also be a link between C8 exposure and prostate cancer, but there was not enough to make a determination of a probable link.
The strongest link was found between C8 and testicular cancer, the panel noted. Individuals exposed to C8 developed testicular cancer at a rate of 3-to-1, while a survey of the geographical area affected by C8 exposure revealed a 6.7-to-1 increased ratio of testicular cancer when compared to non-exposed populations.
A comprehensive report of the panel’s findings is expected in July.