Predictors of perfluorooctanoic acid levels in regular and contract workers of a fluoropolymer manufacturing plant Open Access

Li, Jessica F. (2015)

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BACKGROUND: Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a known human carcinogen that was released by a chemical plant, contaminating the drinking water in the mid-Ohio Valley. Occupational exposures in this plant are much higher than residential exposures from drinking water consumption.

OBJECTIVE: We examined predictors of PFOA between regular and contract workers of a chemical plant and determined the differences between PFOA levels.

METHODS: We studied 4,010 workers of DuPont Washington Works (WW) who had measured PFOA serum levels from a 2005-2006 survey. Of these, 1,923 were regular workers and 2,087 were community members who had reported working at DuPont WW in a survey but were not in the regular worker cohort, the "contract" workers. We also analyzed a subset of workers (48%) for whom we had the start and end dates of employment. We ran linear regression models to determine serum PFOA predictors.

RESULTS: Median PFOA serum level was 109.2 ng/mL for regular workers and 50.8 ng/mL for contract workers. The most important predictors were worker status (regular workers higher), years worked at DuPont WW, years worked in the Teflon division, current water district, and year ending employment (R2 model = 0.49). PFOA was higher for workers who are male, who had a lower education level, and who began work in recent years. The effect of more recent years of employment termination on PFOA levels increased for regular workers compared to contract workers.

CONCLUSIONS: PFOA levels in contract workers were lower than regular workers. The effect of the year of employment termination is different between the worker groups, with much higher levels in regular workers who had ended employment most recently.

Table of Contents

Introduction. 1

Methods. 4

Results. 8

Discussion. 12

Conclusions and Recommendations. 17

References. 18

Tables and Figures. 22

Appendices. 33

Appendix A: C8 Health Project Survey - 2005-2006. 33

Appendix B: C8 Science Panel Survey - 2008-2011. 132

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