CFPUA reacts to new report suggested adverse health effects of compounds like GenX


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) – A newly released report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services links chemicals defined as PFOA and PFAS to a series of health defects. GenX is a known chemical within this perflouroalkyl compound.

The report was released as a draft for public comment from the Agency of Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. In it, several studies were observed surrounding the health effects of PFOA in humans. PFOA is the formal term for chemical compounds like GenX or C8. Those studies were surrounding high cases of exposure in people around 1,000 ng/ml or one part per billion. Recently Chemours reportedly was requesting the state allow the state health goal for GenX be raised to 71,000 parts per trillion.

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The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority has issued a statement on the report saying, “We are currently working to understand its findings and their relevance to PFAS levels in the finished water of Sweeney Water Treatment Plant.”

The report published findings from studies that involved workers that had the highest potential exposure to perfluoroalkyls, followed by the highly-exposed residents in the Mid-Ohio Valley, and then the general population. In one study of workers at the Washington Works facility in West Virginia the average serum PFOA level in 2001–2004 was 1,000 ng/mL or one part per billion. The mean PFOA level in highly-exposed residents near this facility was 423 ng/ml or 423,000 parts per trillion in 2004–2005.

The report listed the following as findings from these studies that were adverse health effects from exposure.

  • Pregnancy-induced hypertension/pre-eclampsia (PFOA, PFOS)
  • Liver damage, as evidenced by increases in serum enzymes and decreases in serum bilirubin levels (PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS)Increases in serum lipids, particularly total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, PFDeA)
  •  Increased risk of thyroid disease (PFOA, PFOS)
  •  Decreased antibody response to vaccines (PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFDeA)
  • Increased risk of asthma diagnosis (PFOA)
  • Increased risk of decreased fertility (PFOA, PFOS)
  • Small (<20 g or 0.7 ounces per 1 ng/mL increase in blood perfluoroalkyl level) decreases in birth weight (PFOA, PFOS)

“This report emphasizes the extreme risk that these chemicals present to the public,” said Ted Leopold of Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll PLLC, the firm representing plaintiffs in the class action alongside Susman Godfrey LLP. “It confirms the numerous health risks of exposure to PFCs like GenX – and also suggests that we need to consider the cumulative effects of exposure to this family of chemicals. That Chemours would lobby for a tenfold increase to the GenX limit simply flies in the face of sound science and shows the company’s brazen disregard for the health and wellbeing of North Carolinians.”

The report cited more findings saying that the International Agency for Research on Cancer concluded that PFOA is possibly carcinogenic to humans and the EPA concluded that there was suggestive evidence of the carcinogenic potential of PFOA and PFOS in humans. Increases in testicular and kidney cancer have been observed in highly exposed humans.

We are digging deeper in this new report and will have more on WWAY news tonight.