Page 2 - Ms Barbara Taylor
Occupational studies have reported that highly exposed workers, with serum PFOA levels similar to or higher than those seen in area residents, did not show obvious clinical abnonnalities associated with the PFOA exposures. However, effects in young children have not been adequately studied. We note that local children and elderly persons living in areas near the Washington Works Facility have higher PFOA levels than do middle-aged adults who live in the community. Two recent studies reported that background level exposures to PFOA were associated with lower birth weights in infants. However a third study of births from the general area north of the Washington Works Facility could not confinn those findings. While the scientific debate on these studies continues, we must remain open-minded about potential associations between PFOA exposures and developmental endpoints in humans. At the present time, ATSDR considers developmental effects to be the most sensitive adverse response to PFOA exposures.
Based on our evaluation, ATSDR provides the following site-specific recommendations:
Because of concerns for potential adverse effects in vulnerable groups, persons such as pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, children, and the elderly living in the vicinity of the Washington Works Facility should reduce local water exposures to levels that are as low as reasonably achievable.
In addition, ATSDR concurs with previous verbal advice given by the West Virginia Department of Public Health; that it is prudent public health practice for caregivers in the area near the Washington Works Facility to reduce drinking water exposures to infants by using premixed baby formula.
We note that efforts to mitigate the possible effects associated with PFOA exposures in the area of the Washington Works Facility have included: (I) providing bottled water to area residents; (2) filtering PFOA from publicly-supplied water; and (3) installation of at-home filter systems for households supplied by wells. We understand that all publicly-supplied water in the area is currently filtered to reduce PFOA to extremely low
levels. EPA has recently confirmed that the vast majority of, ifnot all, private drinking water well owners in the affected area have been contacted to conduct well water testing, and to install filters if needed. It is important that monitoring of the effectiveness of these drinking water treatment systems be continued. In addition, educational campaigns for both physicians and area residents have raised awareness of the potential problems, and have provided information about how to reduce exposures to PFOA.
Because of the site-specific data gaps and the scientific limitations and uncertainties in the toxicological and epidemiological studies of PFOA, the advice presented in this letter may be revised when new data or study results become available.