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State gets first set of results from GenX testing; not released to public yet

The NC Department of Environmental Quality says it has data from the first round of testing of the Cape Fear River but officials say it could still be a while before those results are made public. The information comes from samples pulled from the river during the period of June 19 through June 29 near the Chemours facility.

The results are from the Test America Lab in Colorado. The testing is the result of a joint investigation being conducted by the NC Department of Environmental Quality and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services regarding the presence of the chemical GenX in the Cape Fear River. Samples were also sent to the Environmental Protection Agency’s lab located in the Research Triangle Park.

The Department of Environmental Quality will publish the test results on their website once all of the results are received and reviewed.

The Department of Environmental Quality has verified Chemours has stopped discharging the tainted GenX wastewater into the river and it is now being transported to an incinerator in Arkansas.

The presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River is a concern as it has been attributed to kidney and testicular cancers and liver damage. The Department of Environmental Quality has released data on selected cancer rates for Bladen, Brunswick, Pender and New Hanover counties. The data released indicates Bladen County’s rate for kidney cancer is lower than the state average for the period of 1996-2015. The data also indicates the overall cancer rates for the four counties is similar to the state cancer rates.

The investigation began when NC State University Professor Detlef Knappe and his research team found traces of the chemical GenX in a study of the Cape Fear River. Professor Knappe and his research team were able to trace the toxin from Fayetteville to Wilmington.

In an article published in the Environmental Science and Technology Letters, the data indicates the chemical GenX, which is a chemical replacement for a key ingredient in Teflon, was found in water downstream from the Chemours Co. Fayetteville Works plant. According to the study, the chemical was found in the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s drinking water system.

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