“WILMINGTON — A team of researchers will use samples taken from alligators, catfish and striped bass in the Cape Fear River and surrounding areas to attempt to answer some lingering questions about GenX.

Scott Belcher, an N.C. State toxicologist, said the study stemmed from a Nov. 10 community forum hosted by the Stop GenX in Our Water group.

‘They were talking about their houses’ pipes and their water and all this,’ Belcher said, ‘and they kept asking: The fish out of (the Cape Fear River), is it safe?’

Belcher’s team hopes not only to start answering that query, but also to determine if GenX and several other perfluorinated compounds ‘bioaccumulate,’ or linger, in the alligators and striped bass. The team already has samples from 64 striped bass stocked in its freezer and is targeting between 30 and 40 alligator samples when it takes those later this year, likely in the fall.

‘The whole idea is that the wildlife living in the river is kind of the sentinel for some adverse health effects,’ Belcher said, adding that alligators were chosen for the study because they are at the top of the region’s wildlife food chain.

Funded by a $25,000 grant from N.C. Sea Grant, the study is being conducted in partnership with Cape Fear River Watch…

Polera said she is also interested in learning whether GenX or similar compounds could be playing a role in preventing striped bass from reproducing in the Cape Fear…

Scientists are also intrigued, Belcher said, by the potential differences in impacts between male and female members of the sampled species. Should they determine samples show a thyroid that isn’t working as expected or a similar impact, the researchers can turn to modeling tools to better understand what they are seeing.”

Read the full article by Adam Wagner