New study shows GenX compound found in Cape Fear River may have even worse effects

Cumberland County News

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – It’s been four years since a chemical compound called GenX was discovered in the Cape Fear River and area drinking wells. GenX has been used by Fayetteville company Chemours to make non-stick cookware.

According to a recently released report from the EPA, the effect on humans is potentially worse than first thought.

“Animal studies following oral exposure have shown health effects including on the liver, kidneys, the immune system, development of offspring, and an association with cancer” the report stated.

“The people who are experiencing those injuries and diseases are very concerned that it’s the water that they’ve been drinking, in some cases for 40 years, that’s causing this,” said Gary Jackson. He is an attorney with the law firm James Scott Farrin. His team joins two other law firms that represent a consolidated federal class-action lawsuit against Chemours and parent company Dupont.

Chemours spokesperson Linda Randall responded to the EPA report: “We are in the process of reviewing the significant body of technical information released today by the U.S. EPA relating to its toxicity assessment for ‘GenX chemicals’. We are unaware of data that would support the conclusions drawn by the agency. We’re reviewing the information for additional insight into the new review process used by the agency and the new data the agency utilized for the change from its 2018 draft assessment, including the application of revised uncertainty factors to reflect greater uncertainty even though the agency indicates there is additional data since the draft assessment.”

“It’s not just GenX. PFAS is the family of chemicals and Dupont has admitted that there are 260 PFAS chemicals that they have been putting into the river and into the air, and even they don’t know the effects of some of these chemicals,” Jackson said. “Residents want to be compensated for the out-of-pocket costs for everything from bottled water to reverse osmosis filtration systems.”

That’s the monetary cost. Jackson worries the cost of mental and physical health is even higher.

“Farmers are worried. People who grow vegetables in their yard are worried. People who have questions about whether they can bathe or shower with this water.”

Jackson expects future potential lawsuits as any connection to illness and chemicals released by Chemours may be proven.

As CBS 17 has previously reported, the Biden-Harris administration has laid out a roadmap to combat PFAS nationwide. As head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, Michael Regan took on Chemours and its handling of GenX.

Regan, a Goldsboro native, is now the EPA administrator.

“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,” Regan said at an October event at North Carolina State University.

Chemours responded to the plan: “We have reviewed the U.S. EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap and commend the EPA for compiling a comprehensive, science-based approach. While additional detail is needed for many of the initiatives, Chemours is supportive of the framework approach and looks forward to engaging in the process moving forward. We believe the voluntary stewardship program recommended by the agency could help achieve meaningful progress in reducing emissions while several of the initiatives work their way through the regulatory process.”

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