GenX: Brunswick County's Emily Donovan Addresses House Committee in Washington, D.C.

Sep 6, 2018

On Thursday in Washington D.C., the House of Representatives held a hearing on perfluorinated chemicals in the environment. GenX is such a chemical. One of the speakers was Emily Donovan of Brunswick County. 

Republic Representative John Shimkus of Illinois, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Environment, opened the hearing. He acknowledged these chemicals pose health risks.

“This hearing is about starting the dialogue on PFAS. It means taking stock of what the government knows about PFAS, what efforts to contain its contamination have promised, and what is preventing people from being helped with cleanup or avoid contamination of the air, soil, and water. It's time to figure out what can be done right now.”

After several members of the scientific community testified, Clean Cape Fear co-founder Emily Donovan put a human face on the challenge.

“Our state's leading key fast toxicological researcher publicly stated the true impacts of Gen x may take years to become known because cancer takes it's time to reveal itself in humans. I am here to testify that Wilmington and Fayetteville area residents are already showing signs of obscure and rare cancers, immune disorders and diseases in populations, far too young to pass off as normal.”

“How many of your friends are battling cancer? I'm 41 and my friend Sarah is battling stage three colon cancer. My friend Tom has terminal brain and bone cancer. My friend Kara an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran has stage three breast cancer and had her gallbladder stop working. My friend Margaret has a rare bone cancer and my friend Robert has leukemia and bladder cancer and my own husband had a benign brain tumor and almost lost his eyesight. We already know testicular cancer is on the rise and our region.”

The hearing also sought to define what federal agencies are currently doing about contamination, what more the Environmental Protection Agency can do, and setting lower ‘safe level’ numbers for PFAS compounds.

A Senate committee will take up this issue on September 26.