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Panel Backs State’s GenX Health Goal

RALEIGH – A panel of scientists formed last year to address GenX and coal ash contamination has recommended state officials continue to use a health goal for GenX of 140 parts per trillion.

Chemours’ plant is part of the Fayetteville Works industrial park in Bladen and Cumberland counties. File photo

During a meeting in Raleigh on Monday, the state’s Science Advisory Board, which reports to the secretaries of the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Health and Human Services, reviewed the final draft of its GenX report.

The 25-page report concluded that the methodology DHHS used for establishing the health goal was appropriate, given the research available on the health effects of GenX.

Officials with Chemours, which produces GenX at its Bladen County facility near Fayetteville, has called on the state to adopt a much higher number for the health goal. But the panel of 16 scientists said the state was right to take into account the risk of long-term exposure to sensitive populations such as infants and pregnant women.

“The Board commends the reference dose developed by DHHS to DEQ as the foundation for establishing health-protective environmental standards,” according to the report, which also advises further study to determine potential risks from air emissions.

“The Board recommends that GenX and other PFAS releases to the air be characterized to evaluate inhalation exposures for humans, as well as the implications for contamination of soil, surface water, groundwater and the food web.”

The board also made several modifications to the final draft, including advising that the health goal be re-evaluated again when the Environmental Protection Agency issues its expected recommendations on GenX.

DEQ officials said they would release the final version of the report once the changes have been incorporated.

Public Information Meeting Set

Also on Monday, DEQ announced it is set to host a public information session to include updates on the state’s ongoing activities related to the GenX investigation that originated at Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility.

The session is set for 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30 at the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Center, 450 Smith Circle, in Elizabethtown.

During the session, the Division of Waste Management is to present the latest data on the granulated activated carbon filter testing program. And the Division of Air Quality is to present information on Chemours’ application to add a regenerative thermal oxidizer, or RTO, to further reduce emissions.

On Monday, the state released a report from the Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board on the provisional health goal for GenX in drinking water.

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About the Author

Kirk Ross

Kirk Ross is a longtime North Carolina journalist based in the Triangle. In addition to Coastal Review Online, he covers the legislature and state government for Carolina Public Press and The Washington Post. He can be reached at