River Watch screens film about C8, GenX contamination


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) –  When we first heard of GenX we knew very little. WWAY then went to West Virginia to show you a similar contamination that impacted the Parkersburg community. A film aired in Wilmington this evening about that same case.

The film ‘The Devil We Know’ aired at Thalian Hall this evening sponsored by Cape Fear River Watch. The film was first seen at the Sundance film festival where the nonprofit worked with the film producers to bring it here.

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It goes through the lawsuits and the backstories of the C8 fallout in West Virginia. It even using the same footage from Wilbur Tennant as we showed you last summer.

“People seem to be getting involved,” said Kathryn Coppel who recently moved to Wilmington from New Jersey. She followed the fallout in Parkersburg.

“I suppose people in some ways are learning from what happened in West Virginia and they don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” said Copple.

The film used multiple deposition interviews that took place during the lawsuits towards DuPont. Those cases resulted in a multi-million dollar settlement to West Virginia’s that lived along the Ohio River. It also lead to several studies for PFOA and PFOS chemical compounds that are byproduct wastes of Teflon material manufacturing. Those studies then carried into a Department of Health and Human Services report that found large forms of contamination of C8 possibly lead to higher cancer levels in people.

River Watch hopes showing this film will bring a broader community response to GenX.

“This film hopefully, and unfortunately will scare people. It should scare people,” said Dana Sargent with the River Watch. “And I hope that it helps people to understand the significance of this issue and maybe take some action.”

This screening comes nearly a month after the EPA came to Fayetteville to talk about chemicals like GenX in drinking water. The film itself shows that company scientists knew about chemicals like GenX and C8 decades ago.

The film concludes where our story begins addressing the GenX contamination discovered in the Cape Fear River. The film says no representatives of DuPont or Chemours would take part in the production. We did hear from the company who sent us this statement:

We continue to make extraordinary progress on emissions reductions at our Fayetteville Works site. Chemours is now poised to address air and other emissions in an industry-leading manner for environmental protection. We’ve already seen a 40% reduction in air emissions just since the beginning of the year. In consultation with the NCDEQ, Chemours is working to install additional state-of-the-art technologies, including a thermal oxidizer, which collectively are expected to eliminate 99% of all air emissions of C3 Dimer Acid and other substances known as PFAS compounds by December 31, 2019.