GenX: What Happens Next?

Jun 9, 2017

We continue our coverage on GenX, a chemical compound discovered in the region’s water supply. The story was first reported by the StarNews. Today we explore what state and federal agencies are doing about this potential health hazard.

There have been a lot of questions this week about the water and something called GenX.

GenX is produced by Chemours, at a facility 100 miles upstream from Wilmington. A study out of NC State University found the compound in water treated by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority. State and federal agencies are now getting involved.

Jamie Kritzer is with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

“At this point North Carolina is awaiting guidance from the Environmental Protection Agency that will provide the NC DEQ with the information we need to begin developing regulatory limits for GenX.”

Krizter says DEQ is also working with Chemours, on other solutions.

“The officials in our agency plan to work with the company to assess waste streams that are containing GenX, and determine if the company can reduce the amount of the chemical compound that’s being discharged to the river.”

UNCW professor Larry Cahoon says unregulated chemicals, like GenX, are considered safe until proven otherwise. In an ideal world?

“We would get more toxicity testing done, before we allow it to be put in the water. And in the meantime we wouldn’t allow it to be put in the water at all. The precautionary principle here would be, you can’t put anything in the water unless we know that it’s safe, at whatever levels.”

Other Articles: 

StarNews: WATER FAQs: What we know and what we don’t know

The Intercept:  New Teflon Toxin Causes Cancer in Lab Animals