Parkersburg West Virginia and better half

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The last movie he saw in a theater was the remake of "True Grit" nearly a decade ago. But Parkersburg West Virginia and better half a film that opened Dec. The chemical was used in DuPont's production of Teflon and other household products at its Washington Works facility just outside Parkersburg, along the Ohio River. C8 is found in nonstick pans, waterproof clothing, stain-resistant carpets, microwave popcorn bags, fast-food wrappers and hundreds of other products.

According to a study, C8 is in the blood Parkersburg West Virginia and better half It's called a "forever chemical" because it never fully degrades. DuPont had been aware since at least the s that C8 was toxic in animals and since the s that there were high concentrations of it in the blood of its factory workers. DuPont scientists were aware in the early s of links to cancerous tumors from C8 exposure. Joyce graduated from Parkersburg High School inwent off and earned three degrees and came home.

He now serves as mayor of the city of Parkersburg — population: 30, Joyce said he's heard more about his community's long struggle with corporate environmental malfeasance in the past few weeks than in his two and a half years in office. He attributes this to the release of "Dark Waters. Even David-and-Goliath tales often have complicated backstories, and Joyce knows well that such is the case with Parkersburg and DuPont. A DuPont spokesperson provided an overview of its financial and volunteer support initiatives and wrote that the company supports programs and organizations focused on revitalizing neighborhoods and enhancing quality of life; STEM-related initiatives in local schools; and "initiatives that help protect the environment through clean-up or restoration efforts and allow for DuPont Washington Works to show we are a leader in minimizing our environmental footprint within the community.

Parkersburg, said Doug Higgs, is the kind of town where everybody knows everybody. It was a matter of "not wanting to bite the hand that fed you. Well-paying jobs, great benefits, Little League sponsorships, investments in the arts — but at a cost. The hand that fed did clench. Higgs, now an emergency room physician living in Richmond, Virginia, recalls returning from road trips with his family asleep in the back seat, awakened as they approached home by the familiar waft of chemicals. Two of the Higgs' most immediate neighbors died in their early 50s of renal cell cancer.

Higgs' father has ulcerative colitis, and his brother received treatment for polycystic kidney disease in high school. He knows, of course, the distinction between correlation and causation. But the high incidence of a range of diseases has staggered this community. It's unfair, Higgs said, that a community should have to perpetually ask what exactly it has been exposed to, and where and when the consequences will end.

DuPont's own documentation specified Parkersburg West Virginia and better half C8 was not to be flushed into surface waters, but the company did so for decades. The chemical seeped into the water supplies of the communities of Lubeck and Little Hocking, immediately west of Parkersburg, and the city of Belpre, Ohio, just across the river; and three other water systems. A collective decision was made to use the money won in the class-action suit to conduct an epidemiological study in which nearly 70, of the 80, plaintiffs stopped into one of six clinics set up throughout the community, provided their medical histories and offered their blood.

A science panelcomprised of public health scientists appointed by DuPont and lawyers representing the community, was convened to examine the immense database. Inafter seven years of study, the panel released a report documenting a probable link between C8 and six conditions: testicular cancer, kidney cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, pregnancy-induced hypertension and high cholesterol. InDuPont spun off its chemical division into a new company called Chemours, which now occupies the Washington Works facility on the Ohio.

Hawkins was student body president of the Parkersburg High class of He remembers DuPont's participation in his school's Partners in Education program and riding in parades on DuPont-sponsored floats. Among Hawkins' classmates who have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer was Mike Cox, a local dentist. Cox, Hawkins and Higgs were among a pack of guys who ran together in high school and stayed close after. Cox was a big Ozzy Osbourne fan, and after a grueling regimen of chemo, Hawkins helped arrange backstage passes to a concert, where Osbourne pulled Cox near and shared his own family's experience with cancer.

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Post-diagnosis, Cox had begun performing stand-up comedy routines that incorporated flute solos. He died Jan. Hawkins, who now lives in the Washington, D. It was the old 'hey-look-over-here! His classmate Beth Radmanesh has similar cynical recollections of DuPont's role in her childhood. Radmanesh grew up less than a mile from the Washington Works plant.

Today, she has high cholesterol. Her dad suffers from discoid lupus, causing sores the size of cent pieces on his forehead. Her brother has lupus and had colon cancer, and her sister-in-law has also been diagnosed with lupus. But Radmanesh said her mom is a proponent of bringing another controversial industry to the valley: fracking for natural gas.

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Do you want your water [to be] flammable? Because that's what will Parkersburg West Virginia and better half. The Kigers have spent the last two decades working to uncover the impacts and effects of C8 exposure in the region. Joe and Darlene Kiger live just a few miles from where Radmanesh grew up. Joe, a physical education teacher, is now quite well known in the community for having raised awareness of the dangers of C8 — called "the devil's piss" by some — in local water supplies.

He and his wife, Darlene, ed the class-action suit that was settled in Darlene said that when she and Joe are out around town, "there are a lot of whispers behind your back. They don't know what to say. There's a lot, Joe said, that DuPont hasn't yet been held able for. Earlier this year, Chemours was cited by the EPA for the unregulated release of new chemical compounds from its West Virginia and North Carolina facilities.

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Harry Deitzler served as a lead attorney, among others, in representing the Kigers and tens of thousands of others in the class-action suit. He'd come for a summer internship in the prosecuting attorney's office. The position didn't pay enough to cover his room and board, so he took a job in a bar called Friar Tuck's.

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Longtime resident Nancy Roettger characterizes the community's reaction to the revelation of what DuPont had done as a "weird mix. But a lot of those same people decided "that Harry Deitzler is a horrible person" for his role in exposing DuPont. Candace Jones, a neighbor and longtime friend of Roettger's, said she hates the perception that the community has been divided between the DuPonters and everyone else.

But I don't believe we can blame the everyday worker. Jones' friend Janet Ray's husband passed away 16 years ago from pancreatic cancer. He worked for BorgWarner, a manufacturing company on the river. There are about a dozen houses along Ray's street in Vienna, a Parkersburg suburb, "and I think just about every house during the time I've lived on the street has been affected by cancer. Ray said she sometimes feels guilty, thinking that perhaps the livelihood her family has enjoyed as a result of her husband's employment might have caused health problems for others.

She now lives on the other side of the state, in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle. Danzey Parkersburg West Virginia and better half a competitive swimmer growing up. When not competing, "we were on the river … we were playing in the creeks. I was always in the water. At age 20, her thyroid began malfunctioning.

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Five years later, the socket of her hip shattered while running with her husband. She was diagnosed with an atypical Parkersburg West Virginia and better half of bone cancer in her right hip. Her hip and leg had to be amputated; she underwent 18 months of high-dose chemotherapy. Six leading pathologists from across the country were unable to identify the specific type of cancer.

Danzey's stepfather is retired from DuPont and her stepbrother works on the Teflon line. When her kids were growing up, when someone was hired at DuPont, "there was a celebration" — the good pay, the benefits, "and they did treat their employees well. But "my heart hurts," Tracewell said, to think that her daughter's illnesses might be a consequence of all that. Danzey said her mom "mostly just feels pain for me," worries about her stepson and is anxious about the future.

Her stepfather wonders if one day his pension check will no longer arrive as a result of all the financial fallout. None of them argue with Tracy about the source of her illnesses. Danzey is among those who believe that in regard to perceptions of DuPont in the Parkersburg community, there's a generational divide: Those in their 40s and younger tend to hold a less charitable view than baby boomers and their parents.

There likewise appears to be a generational divide in willingness to drink the water, despite the filtration installed as a result of the settlement. On the September Saturday afternoon of the annual Parkersburg Paddlefest, kayaker Travis Hewitt, 31, stood ashore of the point where the Ohio meets the Little Kanawha and said that few people he knows truly believe the water's safe. Sure, he paddles in it, but "I try not to get it on me" and never swims in it. He has a filter installed in his kitchen. Tommy Joyce, the mayor of Parkersburg, is bullish on West Virginia: "We've got enough coal to light the world, gas to heat the world and brains to run the world.

Fellow Parkersburg High grad Brian Flinn, an engineer, worked for DuPont for eight and a half years; he worked with the raw materials of Teflon. He's seen both sides. He's heard, "If DuPont leaves, we're done. This area will be like most other towns in West Virginia; it'll collapse. So the sentiment goes, he said, "You take the good with the bad, right? But Danzey is unwilling. I love this state. I don't want to be anywhere else. Industries come into their Parkersburg West Virginia and better half, do well for a while, "screw up the environment and then leave.

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Pondering that future keeps Ben Hawkins up at night. What's next for the community, and where does this end? Or does it? What sort of positivity can come to that community? They need it and they deserve it. Hawkins asks this: Think about how loyal the people of the Parkersburg community have been to DuPont.

What if they had the opportunity to extend that same loyalty to a company that's equally invested in the economic, physical and emotional health of the community? We all want the best for that community … whatever form that can take. Taylor Sisk, a Nashville-based healthcare reporter, authored this story for Days in Appalachia. He can be reached at wtsisk1 gmail.

Banner photo: Tracy Danzey grew up in Parkersburg, West Virginia, but now lives on the opposite side of the state in its Eastern Panhandle. Danzey was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer that led to the amputation of her leg. Credit: Seth Freeman Photography. Researchers find Parkersburg West Virginia and better half chemicals linked to breast cancer-contributing hormones in everyday products, and call for a renewed focus on women's exposure risks.

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