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Environment

Chemours to end GenX discharges

by Marc S. Reisch
June 26, 2017 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 95, ISSUE 26

Reacting to a barrage of criticism after the fluoropolymer processing aid GenX was found in the Cape Fear River, Chemours says it will now “capture, remove, and safely dispose” of wastewater containing the chemical at its Fayetteville, N.C., plant. North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) says Chemours’s action is a step in the right direction. The department and the state’s Department of Health & Human Services say they will continue to “investigate this issue until we have answers to address the concerns of downstream water users.” Used to manufacture fluoropolymers, GenX is a six-carbon fluorinated compound that Chemours says has a “favorable” toxicological profile. However, DEQ points out that GenX is a relatively new chemical whose health effects are not fully understood. The processing aid replaced two eight-carbon molecules, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate, that persist in the environment and have been linked to human disease. In February, Chemours and former parent DuPont agreed to pay $670 million to settle lawsuits over PFOA-tainted drinking water.

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