New study researches how PFAS contaminants go beyond our drinking water


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Since the discovery of GenX in 2017, researchers have been trying to figure out where GenX and other PFAS contaminants are coming from.

Several organizations spoke to the community today about a new study they are working on to find out more about these compounds.

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This study has been underway for just a few months so far, but researchers are already saying that these PFAS contaminants can be found in far more than our waters.

“They are in things like coatings of our non-stick pans,” Skrabal said. “They’re in firefighter foam. They’re in tents. What we’re finding is they’re in humans.”

Skrabal and the N.C. Coastal Federation partnered with the PFAST Network and UNCW to host a forum about a new research study.

Jason Surratt with the PFAST Network says they are studying air and water samples for PFAS contaminants.

“We’re also trying to get a baseline understanding of how these compounds might be present in the food we eat,” Surratt said. “So the crops we grow. Also in the wildlife.”

Surratt says Friday’s forum was to share their research methods with the community and let them ask questions.

“For the water sampling, we’re sampling every municipality across the state,” he said. “For the air sampling, it’s more limited. So we have 5 sites across the state.”

Surratt says the study will take around a year.

Skrabal says the goal is to figure out the extent and range of contaminants in our air and water, and how they can affect the health of both humans and the environment.

“We think that knowledge is power,” she said. “You have to understand the science behind what is happening, before you can take effective steps to get our hands around it. And so that we can all have safe drinking water.”

Researchers expect to be done with this study by the end of this year. They hope to have more concrete answers about these contaminants.