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Chemical Regulation

Investigation at US EPA probes oversight of GenX manufacture

by Cheryl Hogue
September 27, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 38


Drawing shows the chemical structure of GenX.

The US Environmental Protection Agency’s internal watchdog is investigating EPA activity on a consent order controlling the manufacture of two fluoroethers. The 2009 order initially applied to DuPont and now affects its Chemours spin-off. The EPA Office of Inspector General is determining what the agency did to verify that the companies abided by the order, which controls production of the processing aid GenX and its hydrolysis product, hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid. The consent order specified that the manufacturer and its US customers capture and destroy or recycle 99% of all the chemicals’ discharges to water and emissions to air. Releases of these and other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances from a Fayette, North Carolina, manufacturing plant pollute the Cape Fear River and the drinking-water supplies of hundreds of thousands of people. The inspector general’s office says it took on the probe to improve EPA controls over consent orders that specify conditions for the manufacture of new commercial chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act.


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