Since our March 2021 article on GenX, “New EPA Administrator Makes PFAS Contamination Issue A Priority“, we have learned that a bipartisan group of North Carolina representatives is pushing for more chemical testing of the water in the Cape Fear region. Seven U.S. representatives, including current Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan, have signed a letter to the EPA urging the agency to require Chemours, the company responsible for the GenX contamination in the Cape Fear region, to pay for the chemical testing.
According to a June 2021 article, “EPA urged to reconsider Trump-era Chemours decision on chemical testing“, this is not the first time the EPA has been asked to push Chemours to conduct testing. Last year, the EPA denied a petition from several environmental groups asking the agency to require Chemours to fund the chemical testing:
The petition, which was filed under the Toxic Substances Control Act, requested that the agency require Chemours to test for 54 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The document cited human health and environmental concerns. Six groups sent the petition, including the Center for Environmental Health, Clean Cape Fear, Cape Fear River Watch, NC Black Alliance, Toxic Free NC, and Advance Carolina.
The original petition was denied on January 7, 2021, by former EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.
Chemours Take on Funding PFAS Testing
Chemours spokeswoman Lisa Randall responded to the group’s request to revisit the initial petition saying several of the compounds listed are not connected to Chemours’ Fayetteville Works plant:
“Others are byproducts and intermediaries that occur at such small quantities, levels that continue to decrease, that it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to manufacture the volumes required for testing,” she said in an email. “The numerous actions we have taken to reduce fluorinated organic compound emissions and address remediation needs continue to make a significant difference in reducing loadings to the Cape Fear River.”
According to testing done by the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ), PFAS chemicals were detected in wells 16 miles from the Fayetteville Works plant. In addition to water contamination, PFAS chemicals have also been found in fish and vegetables in the region.
Furthermore, Chemours claims the company is going above and beyond what is legally required of them and remains adamant that the company is committed to reducing PFAS contamination:
The Chemours spokeswoman, Randall, said Chemours supports “science-based regulations.” The company has worked with the EPA and other regulators to develop and expand scientific knowledge about PFAS, she said.
Chemours is going beyond the requirements of a Consent Order the company signed with the state and an environmental group, Randall said.
“Chemours made an industry-leading commitment to reduce all fluorinated PFAS emissions by 99% by 2030,” she said.
We will continue to observe the GenX situation and deliver information on any new findings or resolutions. To learn more about the background and specifics of GenX, you can visit our law firm’s website pages:
- GenX Cancers Overview
- Summary of Information
- Timeline: GenX Contamination of the Cape Fear River
- Timeline: GenX Study Results
- GenX: Cancer Evaluation Form
Written by: Lauren Schwab, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.