The Pender County Board of Commissioners announced Tuesday that it is working with state, EPA and local officials to monitor the possible effects of an unregulated toxin known as GenX found in the Cape Fear River.
“Pender County Utilities takes seriously its commitment to providing safe, quality drinking water to its citizens and customers,” said George Brown, chairman of the board of commissioners. “In light of recent reports of GenX found in the Cape Fear River, we are working with the EPA and others to learn more about the chemical allegedly released into the water system by the Chemours Co. at Fayetteville Works.”
Chemours first introduced GenX in 2010 as an alternative to a compound known as C8 after evidence indicated potential negative health effects, including studies suggesting an increased risk to several cancers, due to long-term exposure to C8. There are few studies of the effects of exposure to GenX, although industry officials say a greater understanding of that is needed.
GenX is produced and being discharged into the water supply at a Chemours plant along the Bladen County line, upstream in the Cape Fear River.
The toxin can't currently be filtered out of the water supply by surface water processes operated by area water utilities.
“We are working diligently with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ),” said Brown. “That said, we’re concerned about what we don’t know about GenX and the impact – if any - it has in our drinking water.
“The EPA has a process to evaluate new chemicals to determine their potential impact at different levels and to set quality and safety standards. At this time, data is not readily available on whether or not this is a chemical of concern. The EPA is in a better position to make these evaluations and we are actively seeking additional information from DEQ.”
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