UNCW professor says he isn't drinking local tap water

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Larry Cahoon, a professor of marine biology at UNCW, joined WECT for a Facebook Live conversation on Wednesday to discuss GenX, an unregulated toxin that has been discharged into the Cape Fear River by the Chemours Company.

Cahoon opened the discussion by saying people who get their drinking water from the Cape Fear have some tough decisions to make. He said he decided he is not drinking from his tap right now.

"I tell people that's a personal choice," Cahoon said. "I'm not drinking the tap water myself. ... Partly because there's more than GenX in the water. I don't see any reason that I should take a risk personally."

Cahoon said select groups of people need to be particularly careful about the water they drink.

"My advice has generally been that pregnant women, women of child-bearing age, small children, you probably want to think hard about not letting them drink tap water," Cahoon said. "There's plenty of other water sources out there that we can use."

A private, invitation-only meeting about GenX is scheduled for Thursday morning between Chemours representatives and officials from the City of Wilmington, New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties, the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and the NC departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services.

Cahoon is hoping for a timely solution.

"My hope would be that the source of the contamination stops as quickly as possible and we can go back to being comfortable about what we're drinking," he said.

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