Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to footer


How can GenX affect my health?

Information about the health effects of GenX is limited.  Laboratory studies in which animals were exposed to different levels of GenX  did show adverse effects to the liver and blood, along with liver, pancreatic, testicular and uterine cancers, but there is no information about whether these or other health effects would be seen in humans.  A recent review of cancer rates over the last 20 years in Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, and Pender counties indicated that the rates in those counties were generally similar to the statewide rates of pancreatic, liver, uterine, testicular and kidney cancers.  However, no conclusions can be drawn as to whether GenX or any other specific exposures contributed to cancer rates that were examined.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has committed to doing an assessment on the possible long-term health effects of GenX.  The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has reviewed existing research studies and is working with the EPA, CDC, and academic researchers to gather more health information about GenX and related chemicals.  .

Are there home water filtration systems that can remove GenX?

There is not enough information to support the recommendation of any specific filtration method, such as reverse osmosis or granular activated carbon, that can remove GenX from the water.  Research on filtration methods is on-going and information will be shared when it is available.

Preliminary research suggests that the best method to remove GenX from water is with a reverse osmosis filter system.  This method may pose problems for homes with septic systems.  To date, filtering water through activated carbon or activated charcoal has not been proven effective at removing GenX.

What is a Lifetime Health Advisory?

  • The EPA issues Health Advisories for chemicals that includes guidelines which offer an estimate of acceptable limits for daily consumption that are not expected to cause adverse health effects to vulnerable populations (such as infants, pregnant women, or elderly persons).  A ten-day health advisory refers to a concentration that is not expected to cause adverse health effects for up to ten days of consistent daily exposure at that level.  This is based on a 22 pound child consuming one liter of water per day.
  • A Lifetime Health Advisory refers to a concentration that is not expected to cause adverse health effects over a lifetime of consistent daily exposure at that level.  This is based on a 154 pound adult consuming two liters of water each day.  These advisories are not enforceable standards, but are meant to serve as guidance and are based on scientific studies.

What health guidelines or regulatory limits are available?

There are no U.S. regulatory guideline levels for GenX.  However, on July 14, 2017, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (N.C. DHHS) released an updated preliminary health assessment for concentrations of the unregulated compound GenX in finished, or treated drinking water.  The health goal for exposure to GenX in drinking water is 140 nanograms per liter (also referred to as parts per trillion).  This health goal of 140 parts per trillion is expected to be the most conservative and health protective for non-cancer effects in bottle-fed infants, pregnant women, lactating women, children and adults.

How is GenX measured?

Measurements of GenX are commonly reported as parts per trillion (PPT) or as nanograms per liter (ng/L).  According to the EPA, these two forms of measurement are equivalent (1 PPT is the same as 1 ng/L), and both are equivalent to one drop in one trillion gallons of water.

Should I drink bottled or distilled water?

Studies indicate that the GENX levels detected are expected to pose a low risk to human health.  The health needs and situations of individuals vary widely and the use of bottled water or distilled water is an individual decision.

How is Pender County addressing this issue?

Upon being notified of the study regarding GENX in our source water, the Pender County Commissioners; County Manager, Randell Woodruff; Health and Human Services Director, Carolyn Moser; and Pender County Utilities began working with elected officials, DEQ, DHHS, and our regional county partners to investigate and ensure safe drinking water.

Initially, daily conference calls  were held with DHHS, DEQ, Bladen, Brunswick, and New Hanover counties for updates that may impact the health of county residents as research on GENX evolved.  Led by Commissioner Chair, George Brown and County Manager, Randell Woodruff,  communication is on-going with our Cape Fear county partners, state and federal agencies to learn more about GENX and its potential impacts. Chairman Brown has also met with other County Commissioner Chairs for a conference call with Governor Cooper.

The Pender County Board of Commissioners adopted a resolution at the June 19, 2017 board meeting entitled Resolution Requesting The Chemours Company To Halt Processes Which Result In The Discharge Of The GenX Chemical Into The Cape Fear River.

County officials and staff continue to participate on weekly local, regional and state conference calls.  Staff stay apprised of all state and federal water sampling and testing.  N.C. DEQ and N.C. DHHS are leading state investigations into the presence of GenX in the Cape Fear River and other sources such as air quality and are pushing Chemours to limit the amount of GenX being released into the river.

Is Pender County meeting EPA and DEQ drinking water standards?

Yes.  The public water supplies from Pender County meet all standards for drinking water established by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and North Carolina DEQ.  Pender County Utilities staff monitors your water for the presence and concentration of dozens of different chemicals and substances. Water samples are reported monthly, quarterly, and annually as required by the EPA and DEQ,

What are Pender County’s water sources?

Pender County Utilities (PCU) draws raw surface water from the Lower Cape Fear Water and Sewer Authority’s intake in the Cape Fear River in Bladen County.  The Cape Fear River is also a water supply to the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority and Brunswick County Utilities. PCU treats the raw (surface) water to meet federal and state drinking water standards before distributing it to consumers.

Topsail Beach and Surf City operate their own municipal water systems using deep groundwater wells.

Translate »