NC native who worked on Fayetteville Chemours case now heads national EPA focus on ‘forever chemicals’

Cumberland County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — “It didn’t take long to determine that all roads led to Chemours, a chemical manufacturing company in Fayetteville,” says Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Regan, a Goldsboro native, was in Raleigh Monday recalling the discovery of the chemical compound GenX in the nearby Cumberland County water supply including residential wells. It was a team at North Carolina State University that identified the “forever chemical” or PFAS.

PFAS (Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances) like GenX are used to make things like non-stick cookware, grease-resistant food packaging and firefighting foam. Some PFAS have been linked to cancer in people who have been exposed to them.

While heading the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Regan took on Chemours and its handling of GenX.

That included the presence of GenX in the adjacent Cape Fear River which supplies water downstream to Wilmington.

“We took those steps but we knew that it was going to require strong EPA action and that’s why we kept asking for it,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said at an event at N.C. State Monday.

Now in charge of the EPA, Regan is tasked with the Biden-Harris roadmap to combat PFAS pollution nationwide.

“The American people deserve to know what’s in their drinking water and we’re going to use all of the tools in our toolbox to be sure that we know what they’re discharging into the air and the water,” said Regan.

The initiative will address PFAS at U.S. Department of Defense sites, expand testing of the food supply, address agricultural contamination, investigate and remediate exposure to first responders and study the effect on humans.

The plan is expected to be implemented in several months.

“We’re going to work with the states to ensure that none of these polluters get discharge permits to continue to put this stuff in the air and the water. We’re going to use the full arm of our enforcement capabilities to hold these polluters and take them to task” said Regan.

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