Judge J. D. Beane has ruled that a three-person science panel should make more information public about the progress of its scientific study of the toxic chemical C8.

C8, the chemical used in the manufacture of Teflon, has been at the center of a firestorm with the DuPont company, how it has negatively affected regional water systems and the lives of community members and company workers.

Beane did not rule on a request that the panel's quarterly progress reports be made public.

He did say "I think the more the public is aware about any issue, the better off we are."

The panel's progress reports are provided only to DuPont and to lawyers who represent thousands of residents who sued the company over C8 pollution of their drinking water.

Harry Deitzler, a lawyer for the residents, asked Beane to order the science panel to also file the reports with the court, where they would be part of a public file.

Environmental reporter Ken Ward, Jr. with the Charleston Gazette says three top scientists were picked to conduct an independent analysis of C8's potential health effects as part of a $107.6 million lawsuit settlement.

Thousands of Mid-Ohio Valley residents sued the company, alleging their drinking water was contaminated with the chemical.

The class of plaintiffs includes between 60,000 and 80,000 residents. About 70,000 took part in blood tests conducted as part of the settlement, Ward reported.

The science panel consists of Tony Fletcher of the London School of Medicine, Kyle Steenland of Emory University and David Savitz of Mount Sinai.