Feb 26, 2018

Emerging Contaminant GenX Found in Rainwater Samples

The emerging contaminant has been found in rainwater samples by the N.C. DEQ and researchers at the UNC Wilmington–70 miles away

GenX found in rainwater samples

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) collected rainwater samples from public lands in a three miles radius of the Chemours plant of Wilmington, N.C., which recently has been discovered as the source of emerging contaminant GenX contamination in nearby water systems. The DEQ’s sampling concluded that the emerging contaminant is transported by wind and spread through precipitation, as reported by The Fayetteville Observer.

This discovery follows a Jan. 2 directive by the DEQ to Chemours to begin conducting their own rainwater testing, which will soon be available to the public. The state also ordered Chemours to install carbon absorption technology to reduce the GenX emissions exiting the plant. Additionally, researchers at University of North Carolina in Wilmington recently found GenX in rainwater on campus, nearly 70 miles from the Chemours facility.

Moving forward, little is known about the health impact of emerging contaminant GenX, which was developed as the replacement for perfluorooctanoate (PFOA). In animal studies, the contaminant has been linked to cancer, but the impact on humans has slim research surrounding it. DEQ will continue to monitor the air and water quality surrounding the plant and push Chemours to manage their waste more sustainably.