Gen X is a new generation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) used in many industrial applications. GenX and an earlier version of the chemical, PFOA, have likely been discharged into the Cape Fear River since the 1980s without Wilmington’s knowledge. Both GenX and PFOA have been shown in lab studies to cause tumors and reproductive problems. This contamination of public drinking water sources has illustrated how our current regulatory framework leads to potentially hazardous levels of these chemicals in our public drinking water.
Currently, there are no federal drinking water standards for GenX and for many other chemicals that are discharged by industry into our public water supplies. Many of these chemicals are trade secrets, leaving water treatment plants largely unaware of which chemicals are present. Without identification and regulation of these chemicals, they can not be removed.
What other industrial chemicals are in the Haw River, and in our public water supplies? How are these unregulated chemicals affecting our health? We need much broader discharge control and advanced techniques for contaminant monitoring to stop this problem at the source, instead of trying to remove chemicals already in our water supplies. The public and our elected leaders should have confidence that our drinking water supplies are safe, and that our streams, lakes and rivers are healthy for recreation and wildlife.
Click here to read our press release.