GenX: Chemours Fayetteville Importing Waste From Chemours' Netherlands Plant

Jan 25, 2019

Chemours in Fayetteville is importing GenX compounds from its facility near Rotterdam in the Netherlands for recycling. And apparently, it’s been going on for several years. In an email to WHQR Friday, the company stated that “Chemours has historically recycled GenX materials from our Dordrecht facility at our Fayetteville Works plant, as well as at a contractor site in Europe, in order to reduce the quantity that is emitted or becomes waste.”

Chemours goes on to say “The re-importation of material from Dordrecht for responsible recycle is not something new. Such requests have previously been made to and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prior to the re- importation of this material.”

Chemours tells WHQR it has been recycling materials from the Netherlands for more than five years.

WHQR was unable to confirm this with the EPA because of the partial government shutdown. Many EPA staff have been furloughed. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality was also not available for comment.

Lisa Sorg of N.C. Policy Watch first broke this story late last night, when she posted a December letter from a senior EPA attorney to Chemours in the Netherlands. In it the EPA asks to review more “current, detailed information concerning the wastes to be shipped and the management of the wastes.”

Jan. 25 Statement to WHQR From Chemours: 

“Chemours has historically recycled GenX materials from our Dordrecht facility at our Fayetteville Works plant, as well as at a contractor site in Europe, in order to reduce the quantity that is emitted or becomes waste. This is material that was originally created at the Fayetteville site for use in our Dordrecht production processes.

The recent bankruptcy of our European recycling contractor requires us to take responsible actions to ensure we continue to recycle the vast majority of the GenX. The re-importation of material from Dordrecht for responsible recycle is not something new. Such requests have previously been made to and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency prior to the re- importation of this material.

The current request for re-importation made to the Environmental Protection Agency allows the transport of materials that had already reached our European contractor for recycle prior to their bankruptcy, to our Fayetteville location for responsible recycling.

If approved by EPA, any air emissions from the recycling process would be directed to the granular activated carbon beds, and the second stage scrubber that are installed at our Fayetteville Works site. They have proven highly effective at significantly reducing emissions. It’s also important to note that fewer emissions result from recycling material than from making new material.”

Read Lisa Sorg's article here.

Meanwhile, Testing for GenX in humans in North Carolina is expanding.

Researchers with North Carolina State University’s GenX exposure study are inviting a limited number of residents from Fayetteville’s Gray’s Creek area to participate in water, blood and urine testing for the presence of per-fluorinated substances.

According to a news release, researchers will contact residents whose wells were previously sampled by Chemours or the Department of Environmental Quality to participate in the GenX study.

Samples will be tested for up to 23 different PFAS, including GenX. Volunteer recruitment begins next week.

Little is known about how GenX and other PFAS are stored in the body, their toxicity, or how long the chemicals remain in the environment.

N.C. State is still analyzing the results from similar tests done on Wilmington residents last year.