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Toxic Water Myth Debunked

By Maggie Martin

Wilmington, NC – A blogger claims a chemical used two years ago in the Wilmington area sewer system posed a serious threat to residents, but a UNCW Biology Professor says that's not so.

Back in 2008, city and county sewer officials injected a number of chemicals into corroding pipes as a way to eliminate odor problems. One of those chemicals was Anthroquinone, or AQ.

It was being tested in the water for 45 days. A video circulating on the internet claims AQ is a cancer causing agent in rats and mice and could be harmful to humans.

UNCW Biology Professor Larry Cahoon says the concern is overrated.

"I'm not worried about any one particular chemical, especially if it's not being used on an ongoing basis," says Cahoon, "If it was only a pilot study in which the stuff was used well hey the threats gone if there was ever really much of a threat to begin with. I'm far more worried about the pathogens in untreated sewage than I am about the chemicals in there."

The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority says it doesn't want to comment on the issue because it happened before the utility authority took over the sewer system.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you. news@whqr.org.