Scientist touts effectiveness of reverse osmosis water filtration

WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Trying to filter GenX and other perfluorinated compounds out of our drinking water has been the focus of recent work by Dr. Detlef Knappe, an environmental engineering professor at NC State who spoke at Clean Cape Fear's Water Wednesday.

In addition to touting the effectiveness of reverse osmosis treatment systems, Knappe, who along with East Carolina pharmacology and toxicology professor Dr. Jamie DeWitt shared their knowledge of the contamination issue at Cape Fear Community College, said he and other researchers are in the beginning stages of studying GenX's effects on human health.

"I think the most important development is that there are plans in the works to conduct a health-based study," Knappe said. "Right now, it's just in the proposal stage and we will see if we get funding for such a study. I think that is the big missing link to understand how the drinking water exposure may link to human health effects."

As for reverse osmosis being able to get GenX out of drinking water, Knappe said water samples were taken from Wilmington area homes. Researchers asked homeowners to flush their RV tank a couple of times to get a paired comparison between tap and RV-treated water.

Their findings were promising.

"Data collected from four or five the reverse osmosis treatment systems will work effectively to remove GenX and also the other perfluorinated chemicals in the water," Knappe said. "We're still working on analysis for 1,4-dioxane, which has been mentioned as another contaminant of concern. We will share those data as they become available."

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