To use or not to use? A local expert on our drinking water

To use or not to use? A local expert on the drinking water
Updated: Jun. 23, 2017 at 11:34 PM EDT
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Dr. Susanne Brander, assistant professor of ecotoxicology at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, is hoping to answer your most basic GenX questions in one place.

"Most of my work involves studying endocrine disrupting compounds, which are compounds that interfere with hormone function," Brander said. "When the endocrine system gets disrupted, it's usually because you have some sort of chemical, be it a pharmaceutical, or a pesticide, or some sort of industrial compound like GenX or C8. Your body can't tell the difference between the synthetic chemical and hormones you produce inside of your body."

The concentration of GenX in our drinking water has been compared to drops in an Olympic size swimming pool, but Brander warns that low concentrations of GenX may still be dangerous.

"When you're thinking about endocrine disruption, we often see effects at lower levels of chemicals because hormones in our bodies are at very low concentrations so that's why lower concentrations of these compounds are potentially of concern and deserve further study," she said.

Brander explained that because of this, her advice is based on a cautious perspective as there is still little known about GenX.

"It should definitely be emphasized that we don't know whether GenX is dangerous or not, so the advice I'm giving follows lines of the precautionary principle," Brander said. "So if you know something in the water is potentially dangerous, you should take the safest route possible, whatever the safest option that's available to you."

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