FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) – Researchers at North Carolina State University recently took blood samples from people in the Cape Fear River Basin to study their level of exposure to certain man-made chemicals, like GenX.
GenX was discovered in the Cape Fear River and nearby drinking wells four years ago.
The study’s 153 participants received their results Wednesday. GenX was not detected in any blood samples.
“The fact that it’s not detected in you doesn’t mean it might not have health effects because we know people have been drinking this water for a long time,” said Jane Hoppin, N.C. State University biological sciences professor.
The study tested for 26 PFAS. Three of the PFAS, researchers said, are known to come from Chemours and were found in at least 10 percent of blood samples. CBS 17 reached out to Chemours late Wednesday night and is waiting to hear back.
A new study recently showed the GenX compound found in the Cape Fear River may have even worse effects.
Five PFAS were detected in almost all samples. Those five chemicals were higher than average for people living in the United States.
That’s something participant Nettie Hair called “frightening.”
“I’ve got all this stuff in my blood, so where did I get it?” Hair said.
Hoppin said the study cannot say what someone’s blood level means for their health.
“It should wake people up and say why is this community higher exposed, and we think that the higher exposure is throughout the whole Cape Fear region,” Hoppin said.
The answer to what chemicals are in Malenna Orndorf’s blood leaves her with more questions.
“I’d like to see more information as far as what it means to me health-wise possibly,” Orndorf said.
Hoppin said the next step is a longer study looking at the health impacts exposure to these chemicals has on the community.