GenX fallout: Is my water safe to drink?

Unanswered questions about GenX and its effects on humans make it difficult to recommend a course of action for consumers WILMINGTON — A StarNews investigative story Wednesday that detailed a little-known toxin in local drinking water left many Southeastern North Carolinians wondering what to think about the water coming out their taps.
GenX is produced by Chemours Co. at Fayetteville Works, an industrial site on the Cape Fear River, about 100 miles upstream from Wilmington, and a study recently found the compound in water treated by the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority (CFPUA).
“We have so little data,” Ducatman wrote in an email.
I would replace the drinking/cooking water, and use the municipal or well water for bathing or cleaning.” Quantifying the risks GenX is difficult, said Detlef Knappe, a N.C. State University professor who worked on the team that discovered the chemical in the Cape Fear River and CFPUA’s system.
“They’re very inert and pretty difficult to remove.” One of the few water filtration methods that could filter out Genx is reverse osmosis, an expensive method not currently used at CFPUA’s Sweeney Water Treatment Plant on the Cape Fear River.
“It’s a kind of filter system, but it operates on a molecular level,” Cahoon said.
“Reverse osmosis basically uses a very selective membrane that really only allows water molecules, which are very small, to go through it and it uses water pressure that forces the water through.” Even the cheapest industrial-scale reverse osmosis systems cost tens of thousands of dollars for a single unit.
One type of consumer who can afford reverse osmosis is the homeowner.
“Informed consumers can make the right choice,” Cahoon said.
“I think a lot of people are definitely becoming aware that there’s a lot of different chemicals that aren’t regulated.

Learn More