Read the full article by Ellen Knickmeyer

” WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term exposure to a chemical compound currently used for making nonstick coatings appears to be dangerous, even in minute amounts, according to draft findings released Wednesday by the Environmental Protection Agency.

It was the first time EPA weighed in on newer, supposedly safer versions of an increasingly scrutinized family of stick- and stain-resistant compounds. Older versions of the compound are turning up in dangerous levels in drinking water supplies around the country.

Drinking water contamination has been the main concern cited by public health officials and regulators in connection with the compounds, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalyl substances, or PFAS.

The EPA findings said animal studies show the so-called GenX nonstick compound has the potential of affecting the kidneys, blood, immune system, liver and developing fetuses following oral exposure. ‘The data are suggestive of cancer,’ the draft report said.

‘Toxicity is only one piece of information that public officials consider when determining whether there is a risk to public health,’ the report said. ‘Other factors, such as exposure, must also be considered.’

Lee Ferguson, an environmental analytical chemist and associate professor at Duke University, said those findings would mean ‘the compounds that we’re replacing toxic compounds for are also toxic.’

Concern over GenX, used in Teflon and other materials, has been strongest in North Carolina. Authorities have found it in water supplies serving hundreds of thousands of people downstream of a Chemours Co. plant that makes it outside Fayetteville.

Wednesday’s draft findings suggest chronic exposure to GenX is dangerous at levels as low as a few hundred parts per trillion, Ferguson said. Two older versions from the same family of compounds — taken out of manufacturing in the United States — have been found to be dangerous at less than a hundred parts per trillion.”