GenX: Compound Makes Way Into Honey

Dec 5, 2017

Some revelations came out of yesterday’s meeting of the North Carolina Secretaries’ Science Advisory Board held at UNCW.  One of them:  the reconsideration of the GenX 140 parts per trillion health goal set by the Department of Health and Human Services this summer. The other involved food.

When Department of Environmental Quality Assistant Secretary Sheila Holman was wrapping up her presentation to the board Monday afternoon at UNCW, a board member asked if any food had been tested yet for GenX or other chemical compounds.

In a word – Honey.

“I believe it was just over 2,000 parts per trillion.” 

Holman reported that honey from a farmer near the Chemours facility in Fayetteville recently tested for levels of GenX much higher than the DHHS health goal.

“To my knowledge that is the only food that has been tested so far. We just received the data late last week, we obviously have some questions with honey – it’s a much more viscous liquid than water. So the first question is, is the test method for water is it appropriate to use for honey. So that was a question we have posed to EPA. I don’t think we have an answer yet.”

Holman added that the honey had not been sold publicly, but was the farmer’s own for private use. How GenX got into the honey, whether it was from pollen or flowers, is unclear.

Meanwhile several scientists on the board questioned the 140 parts per trillion health goal, how it was reached, and commented that the number is not based on science.

The board will next meet Jan. 29, and will discuss the parts per trillion health goal and if it needs to be revised.