GenX Compound: A Mystery To Most

Jun 8, 2017

GenX. No, we don’t mean Generation X. GenX is a chemical compound we first reported on yesterday. That’s when the StarNews reported on this toxic contaminant that has been found in the Cape Fear River. It’s a key ingredient in Teflon, linked to cancer. It gets into the river at a plant 100 miles upstream. 

For the region’s water suppliers, it came as a surprise.

“We just heard about it yesterday when we saw it in the StarNews.”

Tyler Wittkofsky is with H2GO, which provides water to about 25,000 people in Brunswick County.

“We were a little shocked. But the Cape Fear River has always been vulnerable to these types of contaminants.”

Wittkofsky says customers have been calling all day, asking if they can drink the water. His response:

“We’re not saying that the water is not safe to drink, but, we’re also not saying that it is safe. We’re waiting for the word to come down from state and federal regulators to let us know.”

Brunswick County’s department of environmental health didn’t know about GenX either, until they were told by WHQR Thursday morning. They are now looking into it as well.

The GenX compound is not regulated, so there are no standards for it, and it doesn’t get tested for in water supplies.

Brunswick County’s water department was also caught off guard.

“I was not personally aware of it.”

John Nichols is the director of Brunswick County Public Utilities. He says there is not much data available on GenX.

“Research is needed, to determine if there actually is an issue. With this particular constituent it needs to be determined what level is a concern, if it is a concern.”

Nichols wants everyone to know that he is drinking the water.

Other Articles: 

StarNews: WATER FAQs: What we know and what we don’t know

The Intercept:  New Teflon Toxin Causes Cancer in Lab Animals