Testing of Brunswick County’s raw and treated water has found GenX at concentrations significantly below the numbers reported in a study using data from 2013 and 2014.
Testing of water samples taken by Brunswick County in June showed the presence of GenX at 36.8 parts per trillion in raw water, and 32.8 parts per trillion in treated water.
According to the EPA, parts per trillion and nanograms per liter are equivalent to each other, and each form of measurement is equivalent to one drop in one trillion gallons of water.
While there are no U.S. regulatory guideline levels for GenX, there is a low risk of adverse health effects from drinking water with these concentrations of GenX according to preliminary assessment by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS).
This is assessment based on a lifetime exposure to the most vulnerable populations, like infants. This assessment is being updated and new health information is expected from NCDHHS soon.
The combined level of all PFOA and PFOS in the water samples was also tested. The samples taken by Brunswick County showed a combined level of 10 parts per trillion, below the EPA’s health advisory of 70 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS.
“We understand that the issues related to GenX have received great public attention over the past month,” said Cris Harrelson, Brunswick County Health Director. “It’s an issue that we’ve taken seriously, and these certified results are below health advisories. We will continue to learn more about these chemicals as we work with an independent engineering firm to review our practices and make recommendations.”
Additionally, NCDHHS examined data from the North Carolina Central Cancer Registry, comparing local rates for five types of cancer (pancreatic, liver, uterine, testicular and kidney) to statewide rates. Brunswick County had a lower 20-year rate of pancreatic cancer (1996-2015), a lower five-year rate of uterine cancer (2006-2010) and a lower five-year rate of pancreatic cancer (2011-2015) compared with the state rates. Brunswick County rates for other cancers or other timeframes were similar to state rates. (https://www.ncdhhs.gov/news/press-releases/nc-dhhs-releases-summary-selected-cancer-rates-counties-cape-fear-region)
Brunswick County continues to work with local, state and federal partners, as well as consulting with an expert in water filtration methods, to learn more about GenX and potential filtration methods. At this time, there is no firm scientific evidence that any specific filtration method – either at the system-wide level or at the home filtration level – does remove GenX, though many scientific experts have theorized about methods that may work.
Brunswick County takes seriously its commitment to provide safe, quality drinking water, and provides water that meets all state and federal drinking water requirements. The County is committed to providing timely, accurate information to the public, and as we test and learn more, information will be shared and available. The County supports testing of potential treatment methods, while also working with our partners and regulatory officials to ensure that GenX is not discharged into the Cape Fear River by the Chemours company.
For more information, including steps Brunswick County has taken regarding GenX and a FAQ, please visit www.brunswickcountync.gov/genx.