W.V. contaminant study similar to Twin Cities concernby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A study from West Virginia links two types of cancer to exposure to a chemical similar to that also found in some east Twin Cities metro area wells.
The scientific panel appointed as part of a court settlement in West Virginia said there is a probable link between the chemical PFOA or C8 and testicular and kidney cancers.
The findings have not been published yet, making it more difficult for scientists here to evaluate the study, Minnesota Department of Health epidemiologist Jean Johnson said.
But Minnesota health officials are paying attention, she said.
"It's a very large population that they're studying. "You know it started with about 70,000 people who were enrolled initially, and they do have blood serum levels on a number of these people, and including children," Johnson said. "It's certainly an important study and it's going to continue to be important as they publish their work."
Johnson said residents in West Virginia were exposed to much higher levels of PFOA than people in the east metro area.
The PFOA is part of a group of contaminants called perfluorinated chemicals that had previously been found in drinking water wells in the Twin Cities east metro.
While scientists on the West Virginia panel cited a link to testicular and kidney cancers, they said exposure to PFOA was not associated with adult onset diabetes.
Minnesota residents were exposed to lower levels of PFOA, Johnson said.
The levels here in our community in the east metro were about 10-times less than the blood levels measured in West Virginia," Johnson said. "I think that's one important thing for folks to know."
The chemicals in the east metro came from landfills once used by 3M.