Read the full article by Matthew Prenksy (StarNews)
“In the years before Emily Donovan, or anyone in the Cape Fear region, knew what PFAS were, the mother of two studied political science in college, spent 10 years in corporate marketing and after a self-described miracle, devoted herself to her faith and community.
‘I always kind of felt like my path was such a random existence until Chemours,’ Donovan said. ‘That’s when I realized these three skills have been incredibly useful.’
Donovan just so happened to have created the perfect skillset when reporting by the StarNews in 2017 revealed that two chemical giants, Chemours and DuPont, had been contaminating the area with toxic chemicals for nearly 40 years.
PFAS, or per- and polyfluorinated substances, are a group of chemical compounds manufactured at Fayetteville Works, a chemical plant outside Fayetteville. The facility sits on the banks of the Cape Fear River, and for more than 30 years Chemours and DuPont released untold amounts of PFAS compounds into the air, groundwater and river, contaminating the drinking water to approximately 500,000 North Carolinians.
Fear erupted when the scope of the contamination was first revealed. There were many questions and few answers. The community needed someone with a detailed understanding of government to lobby elected officials, an eye for marketing to raise awareness and a knack for organizing to rally residents.
That’s when Donovan realized she was uniquely equipped to help. Since then, Donovan’s become a leading advocate, both here in North Carolina and nationally, on the issue of PFAS and the damage this relatively unknown class of chemicals can have on communities if not properly managed.” …