Climate Corner: Navigating ‘Dark Waters’

Jul 6, 2024

Callie Lyons

The movie “Dark Waters,” which is available now on Netflix, does an exceptional job of communicating the complex scientific concepts involved with C8 or PFOA contamination in the valley. If this movie is your first encounter with the history of the industrial solvent used to make Teflon and many other consumer applications at DuPont Washington Works since the 1950s, there are some things you may want to know as a Mid-Ohio Valley resident and local water consumer.

The film focuses on the class action lawsuit filed in Wood County, which kick-started global awareness and understanding of the family of “forever chemicals” known as PFAS. As a result of the settlement agreement, class members are entitled to ongoing privileges — like water filtration and medical monitoring. The first step is to establish whether or not you are a member of the class.


If you participated in the C8 Health Project, you are a member of the class. If you lived or worked in one of six local water districts for at least one year prior to 2004, you are a member of the class. Eligible water systems include: Lubeck and Mason County, W.Va., and Belpre, Little Hocking, Tuppers Plains-Chester, and Pomeroy, Ohio.


Water filtration was one of the first benefits to come out of the class action settlement. Treatment facilities were constructed in each of the designated communities and use granular activated carbon to filter the water and significantly reduce PFAS exposure. If you live in one of those communities today, you are already benefiting from the settlement agreement.

This is important because industry has not stopped using the Ohio River as a dumping ground for their toxic PFAS waste. On the contrary, they continue to exceed the limits of their discharge permits frequently.


The settlement agreement also provides for medical monitoring for class members. Simply put, that means class members can sign up, schedule an appointment with a doctor and have a battery of labs performed at no cost to them to screen for the exposure-related health conditions identified by the C8 Science Panel. The independent panel of epidemiologists studied the data collected in the health project and determined that exposure is linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, ulcerative colitis, pre-eclampsia and high cholesterol. Class members are entitled to monitoring — or screening for those conditions. In addition to screening for the related conditions, this program also involves a medical test to determine how much C8 is in your body.

The medical monitoring program for pregnant women is of great importance due to the life-threatening nature of pre-eclampsia — or pregnancy-induced high blood pressure — and the need for constant monitoring.

While medical monitoring is an ongoing benefit for class members, historically participation has been rather low — likely due to lack of awareness. Class members can register for this free program online at


If you are a class member who is diagnosed with one of the exposure-related conditions, you may pursue a personal injury claim. People who find themselves in this situation have two years from the date of diagnosis to pursue a claim. Contact an attorney for advice.


If you want to find out more about what contaminants are impacting your water supplies, the Environmental Working Group provides a nationwide database searchable by zip code at

If you have questions about C8 in the Mid-Ohio Valley, I encourage you to reach out for more information. Contact one of the fine folks from Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action through the website, or email me directly at

Knowledge is power. And, while this is a frightening topic, thanks to the Tennant family and the lawyers who took on their cause, people who live in the Mid-Ohio Valley have some advantages. Thanks to the class action, there are already some remedies in place. Find out what you need to know to stay healthy and protect your family.


Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher and author who works for FITSNews. Her 2007 book “Stain-Resistant, Nonstick, Waterproof and Lethal: The Hidden Dangers of C8,” was the first to cover forever chemicals and their impact on communities — a story later told in the movie “Dark Waters.” Her investigative work has been featured in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world. Lyons also appears in “Citizen Sleuth” — a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.