Read the full article by Trista Talton (NC Health News)

“Many people living in the Cape Fear River basin who volunteered to take part in the most recent GenX exposure study had higher levels of four highly fluorinated compounds in their blood than the average American.

While GenX was not found in the blood samples of 1,020 residents in Wilmington, Fayetteville and Pittsboro, three per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, unique to the Chemours Fayetteville Works facility were in the blood of almost everyone who participated in the 2020-2021 study.

The results of this latest GenX exposure study were discussed Wednesday evening during a public meeting hosted by Cape Fear River Watch in Cape Fear Community College’s Union Station.

Researchers with the North Carolina State University Center for Human Health and the Environment were quick to point out that while GenX was not found in blood samples, that does not mean people were not exposed to the chemical compound. That merely suggests GenX does not last in the blood for a long time.

PFAS found in blood samples from Wilmington-area residents were the same as those found in samples taken from residents who participated in the initial 2017-18 study.

Nearly everyone who participated in the study had perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, or PFOS, perfluorohexanesulfonic acid, or PFHxS, and perfluoronanoic acid, or PFNA.

Those synthetic chemicals get into the Cape Fear River from several different sources, including textile and furniture manufacturers, sludge from wastewater treatment plants used as fertilizer, and firefighting foams used at airports, according to researchers who conducted the study.

Chemical compounds unique to Chemours – Nafion byproduct 2, and perfluoroalkyl ether carboxylic acids PFO4DA and PFO5DoA – were found in the blood of almost everyone from the Wilmington-area region who participated in the first GenX exposure study in 2017-18.

Nadine Kotlarz, a postdoctoral researcher at N.C. State, said Nafion byproduct 2 was found in 422 out of 514 Wilmington-area residents who participated in the 2020-21 study.

Blood samples of 433 of those residents also contained PFO5DoA.

Kotlarz explained that researchers went back and reanalyzed the original blood samples collected in the 2017-18 study after new commercial testing standards were established. The results revealed the people found to have PFO5DoA in their blood had higher concentrations than originally detected.”