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“A statewide investigation of foam containing PFAS in, among other places, areas near the Cape Fear River has yet to identify the potential sources of the chemical compound-laden froth.

More than a year and a half has passed since state environmental officials began sampling foam that Cumberland County residents reported seeing on creeks near the Cape Fear River or forming after rainfall.

Foam samples collected by North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality officials in June 2020 contained elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, otherwise known as PFAS, synthetic chemicals found in a number of consumer products.

Several PFAS were also found in foam samples retrieved from the ocean shorelines of Caswell Beach and Oak Island as well as a rain gutter from a private residence in Leland.

Foam samples collected in the Brunswick County towns in April and May 2021 were analyzed by scientists at North Carolina State University and discovered to contain more than a dozen different PFAS.

PFAS are omnipresent in the environment and, though the source of the PFAS foam remains unknown, many cast suspicions at Chemours Co.’s Fayetteville Works, which has been discharging a host of PFAS into the Cape Fear River and the air since the 1980s.

‘There’s a lot of Chemours PFAS in the foam samples that were collected at the beach, but there’s that one chemical compound, Hydro-EVE, that was collected in my rain gutter,’ said Leland resident Emily Donovan.

Hydro-EVE acid was found to be in an overwhelming number of New Hanover County residents who volunteered to give blood samples to researchers studying the potential effects of PFAS in humans.

The results of the blood tests, released to the public in late 2018, revealed that 76% of blood samples taken from more than 300 residents contained Hydro-EVE.

Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, said the presence of Hydro-EVE in foam coming from her rain gutter begs the question of why and how it got there since Chemours has been operating a thermal oxidizer designed to eliminate chemical emissions.”…