Read the full article by Adam Wagner (The Charlotte Observer)

“On Tuesday, the EPA announced it approved a request that it study health impacts of dozens of ‘forever chemicals’ industrial waste detected in the Cape Fear River. But that is misleading, say members of North Carolina environmental groups who filed a petition seeking the studies.

The EPA said that it had granted a petition filed by six environmental groups calling upon the agency to test the toxicity of 54 per- and polyfluoroalykl substances identified in the Cape Fear River basin. Scientists have evaluated the health impacts of very few of the 4,700 known PFAS compounds, but those that have been studied are linked with health impacts ranging from high blood pressure to weakened immune systems to certain kinds of cancers.

In its response this week, the EPA said its national testing plan announced in October would cover 30 of the chemicals identified in the Cape Fear basin, with seven of the substances being tested directly under the category-based strategy. Another nine chemicals could be tested later, and the EPA said that 15 of the substances don’t meet the testing strategy’s definition of PFAS.

The response has infuriated petitioners from groups including Cape Fear River Watch, Clean Cape Fear and the NC Black Alliance. It is effectively a denial, they say, and simply includes taking actions that were previously announced.

The EPA also did not agree to launch an epidemiological study of PFAS impacts in Southeastern North Carolina, start studying mixtures of the substances that are found in region or immediately develop analytical standards that would help scientists identify many of the compounds in water samples. All are steps that the groups argue are key to understanding both decades of exposure and potential ongoing contamination.”…