Gen X, an unregulated chemical compound used in the production of non-stick pans, has been produced commercially in North Carolina since 2009 and has been discharged into the waterways as a manufacturing byproduct. Last year, residents of parts of the state were urged to stop drinking the water supplied to their home due to levels of Gen X in the water that exceeded maximum safe levels. The NC Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has been working with the companies involved to tackle the contamination of the water supply, but last month, Gen X was also detected in rain. WRAL reports that "on Friday, Feb. 23, the state's Department of Environmental Quality posted a map of rain water collections near the Chemours plant itself. GenX registered in all 10 locations, including one that showed the chemical above the state health goal. That location registered as high as 630 parts per trillion".
We don't yet know enough about the effects of Gen X, but we do know that it is difficult to remove from water and that DEQ has requested more funding to deal with the issue. Although the NC House put back a proposal to provide additional funding, this proposal was then rejected by the NC Senate. As the issue grows in complexity, and concerns build about air contamination, the DEQ is likely to need more funding to tackle this issue.
What next? Follow the links for more information on Gen X. This is an issue that legislators will be called to act upon. Make sure you know where your candidates stand on this issue!
- NC Department of Environmental Quality summary
- NC Policy Watch: State officials struggle to keep up as GenX pollution issues spread, grow more complex
- Star News Online: GenX update: So where do things stand now?
- WRAL: GenX found in rain
- PBS News Hour: How an unregulated chemical entered a North Carolina community’s drinking water