Editorial: Beach Towns Water Safe From GenX Contamination

By / Editorials / Wednesday, 14 June 2017 04:00

Managing Editor

If a company wants to market a new drug to treat a particular medical condition, they have to undergo years of testing and trials before even beginning human trials. Then, after spending millions of dollars jumping through hoops with the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), they finally get to sell that new drug to the public either via prescription or over-the-counter.
Contrast that with chemicals that industrial manufacturers can release into public waters. All it takes is to start using the chemical first and then wait for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality to catch up years later after studying the health impacts.
This is absurd. GenX is the latest news and it's a "new" chemical that replaces a chemical that was found to be hazardous to humans causing different types of cancer. Think of it as a devil by another name.
The Wilmington Star News recently published a report about the presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River.
The former chemical C8 was found to be hazardous to humans and so Dupont and another spin-off company named Chemours came up with another chemical called GenX as a safe replacement. Again, a devil of another name, but this time without any data on just how evil this chem-devil can be in terms of impact on human health once the plant discharge enters the Cape Fear River and ultimately enters the public water system in Wilmingon via the CFPUA's Water Treatment Plant. Even after treatment of the river water, the chemical is still present. Is it unsafe for humans to consume that water? No one knows the answer. Not the EPA. Not the State of NC. And there's no state or federal requirement for the manufacturers to notify the CFPUA or any other water supply system that draws their water from the Cape Fear River. Not to mention, the Division of Marine Fisheries. They have a vested interest in water quality for recreational and commercial fishing including oyster harvesting.
The County asked to meet with officials from Chemours and they agreed to meet with local and state officials here in New Hanover County on June 15th as long as the meeting isn't open to the public. They did agree to a single "pool reporter" but no audio or video recordings.
(See report on page 1-A...)
They should be required to halt production until GenX can be studied and fully regulated by the EPA. The Town's of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach use ground water from deep aquifers and not treated water from the river, so GenX is not a concern unless you travel into Wilmington and drink the tap water.


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