RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – When people are exposed to the chemical compound, GenX, how much of it remains inside their bodies?
That’s the focus of a study underway now involving researchers at N.C. State, East Carolina University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“This is the first study to measure GenX in humans,” said Dr. Jane Hoppin, N.C. State Biological Sciences Associate Professor and principal investigator for the study. “So, we don’t know what we’re going to see.”
A lot of people want to know what Hoppin and other researchers find.
The researchers have collected samples, blood, urine and drinking water from nearly 400 people in the Wilmington area and will look to see how much GenX, if any, is in their systems.
“We’ll be able to say whether men have higher levels of GenX than women, people who have lived who have lived in Wilmington longer,” said Hoppin.
In June, Chemours disclosed that it had been discharging GenX into the Cape Fear River for decades from its Fayetteville Works facility. GenX is a chemical used to make Teflon.
Months later, tests showed GenX also was showing up in private wells of homeowners who live around the company.
On the test about GenX in humans, researchers got a $275,000 grant to examine the Wilmington area. Hoppin said she is starting to do the legwork to include residents around the company either in this study or in a separate study.
Hoppin told CBS North Carolina the results will be processed at the EPA lab here in the Triangle.
She said the results of the tests are significant.
“We can’t do any research to understand the effects on people until we know the levels that are in people’s bodies,” said Hoppin.
She said the results should be back by the end of February and, at that time, the results also will be shared with the participants.