New Hanover County neighbors can take part in study on affects of GenX exposure

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RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) –  Since we first learned about GenX and other chemical compounds coming into our drinking water one question has yet to be answered: how does it affect you, your kids, your family? Now researchers are launching a study that could start to find answers.

Scientists will partner with the New Hanover County Health Department in what will be a first ever study to measure how much of GenX is in each and every one of us.

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“No one has ever measured GenX exposure in people,” said the lead investigator Dr. Jane Hoppin.

We know how much of it is in our water. Now researchers at NC State University are launching a study to find how much and just what GenX and nafion is doing to our bodies.

“We’re going to be in Wilmington recruiting people collecting blood and urine samples analyzing the samples giving results back to people,” Dr. Hoppin said.

NC State Center for Human Health and Environment


More than a quarter million dollars in federal grant money will fund the study.

Everyone interested in participating must meet certain criteria: you must live in New Hanover County for at least a year , be older than 6, also be a man or women who is not be pregnant and you must be a CFPUA customer

They will select four hundred people. Brunswick County is not included, but one couple there filed suit against Chemours and DuPont saying their chemicals caused them to have thyroid disorder. The study will look into that.

“We’re going to assess a few common clinical outcomes like lipid levels, glycerol levels and thyroid.”

Dr. Hoppin and her team do not expect the study will prove if the compound is linked to all diseases.

“We won’t have a big enough sample to look at a rare disease like cancer,” said Hoppin. “But we will get some first clinical suggestions.”

It will set a foundation for more research on potential side affects of exposure.

“We will be able to know whether people who have lived in Wilmington longer have higher levels in their body,” Hoppin said. “Do men have higher levels than women? Does age play a role? I think that’s where our strength is going to be.”

NC State co-investigators include professor of civil construction and environmental engineering Detlef Knappe; CHHE community outreach director Katy May; and William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Toxicology and CHHE director Rob Smart.

ECU researchers Suzanne Lea, David Collier and Jamie DeWitt are also co-investigators. The researchers will work with community partners Cape Fear River Watch and New Hanover County Health Department. For more information about the study, click here.