State struggles to understand the health and environmental impact of man-made chemicals ::


PFAS The chemicals, used in everything from fire-fighting foam to fast food packaging and non-stick pans, are often referred to as “eternal chemicals” because they are nearly indestructible.

This makes them particularly dangerous for human and animal health, difficult to treat and very expensive to clean when they enter the environment. In North Carolina, scientists seem to find more of it everywhere they look, including in drinking water, fish, and humans.

Since one of these chemicals, Generation X, was found in the Cape Fear River and in the drinking water of the Wilmington area four years ago, state regulators have been trying to find solutions. to this problem and other emerging contaminants.

On Monday, Frannie Nilsen, a toxicologist with the State Department of Environmental Quality, told the agency’s science advisory board that Generation X and four others PFAS compounds appear in more than half of the wells they sampled near the Chemours factory on the Bladen-Cumberland County Line.

03/31/21: NC fines Chemours for improper treatment systems along Cape Fear River

8/13/20: Agreement reached to stop GenX runoff at Chemours, North Carolina plant

05/28/2020: Inspectors Didn’t Monitor GenX Limit Because They Didn’t Know

“Gen X has issued health advisories in three states, North Carolina being one of them, but there are no official regulations for any of them,” Nilsen said.

Emerging contaminants are in the water in Pittsboro, too much. Nilsen said they appear in the blood of adults and children there and in Wilmington.

“If you compare each of them – the adults of Wilmington, the children of Pittsboro and the Fayetteville adults – all of the average US population, you can see that there are compounds that are much higher in the North Carolina population, ”Nilsen said.

John Vandenberg, who recently retired as head of the Environmental Protection Agency on Human Health Risks, is also on the state panel. He must have checked the numbers he was hearing.

“When you compare what is actually in people’s blood serum, it seems to me that these have been detected. PFAS are also worrying, a huge concern for me, ”he said.

PFAS contamination has appeared in many places, from Wake County to Shelby, near Charlotte.

The panel is trying to help the state determine how to regulate these compounds. Other states are doing the same. But it is difficult. There are thousands of compounds out there, and chemical manufacturers don’t even have to disclose what they put in the water.

A bill passed by the US House would change that, but the Senate has yet to pass it.


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