Study Details

GenX is a chemical used in Teflon™ production and has been detected in the Cape Fear River — the drinking water source for numerous communities. GenX is part of a family of chemicals known as PFAS.

Scientists from North Carolina State University, East Carolina University, and the US Environmental Protection Agency have been working closely with community leaders from New Hanover County to develop the GenX Exposure Study. The study was first discussed at a Water Wednesday Forum sponsored by Clean Cape Fear on July 26, 2017. In 2018, as we learned more about well contamination in the community around the chemical plant in Fayetteville, we expanded the study to include these individuals as well.

The GenX Exposure Study was a result of community concerns about GenX in 2017. The study was designed to answer three questions:

  • Is GenX inside my body, and if so, how much is there?
  • What predicts GenX?
  • Are there health effects to GenX?

The study quickly expanded to include a wide range of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances).

  • Residents of Wilmington on the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority water
  • Residents near the chemical plant in Fayetteville whose wells were previously tested for GenX
What We Did
  • Collected water samples and tested for PFAS
    • Wilmington: tap water
    • Fayetteville: tap and well water
  • Collected blood and urine samples
    • Clinical measures included:
      • Lipids
      • Thyroid
      • Metabolic panel
    • Tested for PFAS
    • Repeated testing in Wilmington
  • Additional components in Fayetteville:
    • House dust
    • Wristbands
Where We Are Now
What’s Next
  • Report results to Fayetteville
    • Water
    • Blood
  • Develop method to analyze urine samples
  • Continue to update study participants as we have new results
  • Analysis of PFAS and clinical values