Published: April 2, 2018

    Residents of North Carolina: Get the Facts on GenX and Water Filtration

    The term “GenX” may not mean much to you if you live elsewhere in the United States, but residents in North Carolina have been dealing with the fallout of the known contaminant since the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality first discovered its presence in waterways last year.

    Here’s a quick summary of the current state of events: The NC DEQ discovered that a harmful chemical known as GenX was being released into the Cape Fear River by Chemours, along with two other toxic flurochemicals. Flurochemicals are man-made compounds used to manufacture products like waterproof jackets and non-stick pans.

    GenX is used as a replacement for PFOA, another flurochemical. Using a wastewater permit issued by the state Chemours has been discharging GenX directly into waterways for decades as a manufacturing byproduct.

    The NC DEQ began collecting water samples in 2017 to determine the reach and contamination level of GenX in North Carolina. Chemours has also tested the wells of several citizens, including Mike Watters, who was interviewed by PBS as part of their coverage of GenX. Watters, like many homeowners in the state, discovered that the water he had been drinking contained GenX as levels far above North Carolina’s health goal of 140 parts per trillion.

    Since the state began its investigation Chemours has since stopped the release of GenX and the other dangerous flurochemicals into the Cape Fear River after the threat of legal action from the state of North Carolina. The state will issue a revised wastewater permit in an attempt to reduce situations like these in the future.

    Residents in North Carolina have not only had to worry about the contaminant itself – they also have to deal with confusing and misleading claims about water filtration treatment to eliminate or reduce the amount of GenX in their drinking water.

    According to Star News Online multiple consumer complaints have been issued to the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office about particular water treatment systems or testing services. Many of these complaints seem to revolve around whether water filtration companies should be able to claim that their products filter GenX.

    Laura Leonard, a spokeswoman for the NC DEQ, stated that their agency would wait for findings from independent researchers before recommending or endorsing any specific home water filtration systems. In the meantime, concerned citizens can decide to take steps to potentially reduce GenX as long as they are aware of the limitations of water filtration systems.

    According to our lab technician no filtration method available is currently certified to reduce the level of GenX in your water below the North Carolina health goal, because that level is in the parts per trillion. However, until any particular method is verified as effective your best option is a reverse osmosis system, per the recommendation of North Carolina state spokespeople.

    Our 6-Stage Reverse Osmosis system will offer some level of protection of GenX, though it cannot reduce the chemical to less than 140 parts per trillion. Because flow rate is regulated our lab technician states that the RO system is the best choice. Pelican Water would recommend changing the filter more often to increase the effectiveness of the reverse osmosis system in regards to GenX.

    Do everything you can to protect your family from chemicals like GenX, and stay informed about the effectiveness of various treatment methods.