The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Bladen and Cumberland county health departments to test the blood and urine of up to 30 residents living near Chemours’ Fayetteville Works facility for the presence of GenX and 16 other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS.
This testing comes after the Department of Environmental Quality directed Chemours to conduct sampling of drinking water wells at residences located near the Fayetteville Works facility. To date, sampling conducted by both DEQ and Chemours’ third-party consultant found GenX above the state’s provisional drinking water health goal for GenX in 225 wells.
The purpose of the testing is to determine if PFAS can be detected in blood or urine from residents in the area, and if so, how their levels compare to levels detected from other parts of the country. Human health effects associated with PFAS exposure are not well understood.
“This is an important next step in understanding GenX and other PFAS exposure in humans,” said State Epidemiologist Zack Moore, M.D. “However, this testing cannot tell us whether GenX or other PFAS are associated with any specific health effects.”
Health officials will begin calling selected residents near the Fayetteville Works facility this week to invite them to participate, and residents with private wells that had the highest detections of GenX during the sampling will be contacted first.
Samples will be sent to the CDC for testing. Because some PFAS are expected to be easier to detect in blood, and others are expected to be easier to detect in urine, samples will be tested differently:
- Urine samples will be tested for GenX and seven other PFAS.
- Blood samples will be tested for nine PFAS — and may be tested for GenX if it is detected in urine samples.
Participation is limited to no more than 30 people based on CDC testing capacity. Each household will be limited to no more than one adult participant and one child participant (12-17 years old). Individual results will be shared with participants, and summary results will be shared with the public without participants’ private information.
Questions about the testing can be directed to the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch in DHHS' Division of Public Health at 919-707-5900.