Since July 2021, when we posted our last GenX article, “EPA Petitioned to Reconsider Requiring Chemours to Fund PFAS Testing“, it has been determined that GenX contamination in the Cape Fear region may pose more threats than initially thought. These findings come following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) announcement about the reclassification of GenX and other PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under the Superfund Act.
EPA’s GenX Contamination Study Findings
According to an October 2021 Star News article, “EPA assessment: GenX more toxic than thought; health effects might include liver, immune system“, recent studies have shown GenX may be more dangerous than initially thought:
The EPA’s review talked about possible health effects.
“Animal studies following oral exposure have shown health effects including on the liver, kidneys, the immune system, development of offspring, and an association with cancer,” it said. “Based on available information across studies of different sexes, life stages, and durations of exposure, the liver appears to be particularly sensitive from oral exposure to GenX chemicals.”
Chemours, the company responsible for dumping GenX and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances into the Cape Fear River, denies knowledge of the data that supports the EPA’s recent claims. The same October 2021 Star News article says:
Lisa Randall, a Chemours spokeswoman, released a statement Monday that said company officials are reviewing “the significant body of technical information” that the EPA released with the toxicity assessment.
“We are unaware of data that would support the conclusions drawn by the agency,” the statement said. “We’re reviewing the information for additional insight into the new review process used by the agency and the new data the agency utilized for the change from its 2018 draft assessment, including the application of revised uncertainty factors to reflect greater uncertainty even though the agency indicates there is additional data since the draft assessment.”
Laura Leonard, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Quality, says the assessment by the EPA will provide guidance for a future GenX drinking water health advisory, hopefully by the spring of 2022.
What the EPA Intends to Do About GenX Contamination
These recent updates regarding the severity of the GenX water contamination come following an announcement from the EPA regarding the agency’s new plan to tackle PFAS contamination.
According to an October 19, 2021 article “EPA to list PFAS as hazardous as part of new approach“, the EPA announced its three-year action plan which includes listing certain PFAS as “hazardous” under the Superfund Act. This strategy, led by EPA administrator Michael Regan, would allow the agency to hold responsible parties accountable for the contamination:
Regan said that moving to designate certain PFAS as hazardous substances under the Superfund program would allow the agency to clean up contaminated sites and hold the responsible parties accountable by either having them perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led cleanup work.
“The Superfund program has successfully protected American communities by requiring polluters to pay to clean up the hazardous waste and pollution that they themselves have released in our environment,” he explained. “This strategy will leverage EPA existing authority to take bold action to restrict chemicals from entering the land, the air, the water, and land at all levels that are harmful to public health and the environment.”
The EPA intends to broaden and accelerate PFAS contamination clean-up, as well as take action in the Cape Fear Region, by issuing a final toxicity assessment of GenX.
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.