Read full article by Steve DeVane (The Fayetteville Observer)

“An academic study is raising questions about the belief that compounds such as GenX might be safer than chemicals like the one it replaced.

The study by scientists at Auburn University refutes claims that newer per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) compounds are safer than two older PFAS chemicals, according to a statement released by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. The older compounds, which have been linked to cancer and other diseases, were pulled off the U.S. market, it said.

One of those compounds, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), was made at the DuPont facility in Bladen County near the Cumberland County line. The chemical also is known as C8 because it has eight carbon atoms.

The other compound, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), also has eight carbon atoms.

DuPont started phasing out the use of C8 in 2009 and started making GenX at the plant. Chemours, which spun off from DuPont, now owns the facility. GenX, which has six carbon atoms, also is a byproduct of processes there…

Chemours officials have said that the levels of GenX in the wells are not harmful.

Long-chain PFAS chemicals have eight carbon atoms, while those with six carbon atoms or fewer are short-chain alternatives, the Environmental Working Group statement said. ‘There is growing agreement among scientists that the entire class of PFAS chemicals may be hazardous,’ it said…

The Auburn study, which was published in the Chemical Engineering Journal, says so-called short-chain PFAS compounds are ‘more widely detected, more persistent and mobile in aquatic systems, and thus may pose more risks on the human and ecosystem health’ than their long-chain predecessors, according to the Environmental Working Group statement.

The researchers reviewed science about the occurrence, impacts and treatment of short-chain PFAS chemicals, the statement said.

The study found that various short-chain PFAS chemicals are widely detected in drinking water supplies. It also found that chemicals may harm both human and ecosystem health and that existing drinking water treatment approaches for the removal of long-chain PFAS are less effective for short-chain PFAS chemicals, according to the statement

Olga Naidenko, the Environmental Working Group’s vice president for science investigations, said in the statement that the study shows that the claim that the next generation of PFAS are far safer than the group of older, long-chain fluorinated chemicals cannot pass the scrutiny of actual scientific, peer-reviewed data…”