“A state board of scientists threw its weight behind North Carolina’s longstanding health goal on GenX Monday, signing off on a conservative amount of the chemical believed to be safe in drinking water.

That threshold: 140 parts per trillion. The miniscule amount represents the best estimate state scientists can make on the amount bottle-fed infants and other potentially sensitive populations can drink without expecting health problems from a chemical whose health effects have not been heavily studied.

State regulators first set this level in July of last year, soon after the public learned GenX was found in the Cape Fear River and municipal water supplies downstream from the Chemours plant. In backing that threshold Monday the Secretary’s Science Advisory Board on Toxic Air Pollutants rejected Chemours’ suggestion that the state adopt a significantly higher threshold.

The company had called for 70,000 parts per trillion, which was more in line with the health goal initially set by state officials, then lowered after another study on the chemical became available. The current North Carolina health goal is similar to one set in the Netherlands, where another Chemours plant is located and whose scientists the North Carolina board consulted.

The recommendation is part of a 20-plus page report the board worked to finalize Monday. Once changes approved during this meeting, and there were a number of them, are incorporated the document will be released for 30 days of public comment.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality also plans a public information session Aug. 30 at the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Center, starting at 6 p.m. Part of that meeting will cover the latest data on carbon filters, which have shown promise in filtering GenX from the water.

Among other things, the board on Monday also recommended further study of GenX air emissions and how breathing in the chemical can increase human exposure. It plans to revisit its decision on the health goal, and potentially other elements of its report, once the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency releases more of its own findings on this family of chemicals. That is expected soon.

The report also notes what scientists have been saying for months: that though GenX has generated the most discussion, it’s one of thousands of chemicals in the per and poly fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) family. For many of these chemicals, including GenX, there is limited or no data on human health effects.”

Read the full article by Travis Fain