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EPA Summit To Examine Contaminated Water In North Carolina

Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it will hold a national conference to look more closely at chemical compounds in water.

In May, the EPA will hold a National Leadership Summit, where participants are expected to share information and develop strategies to address public concerns, according to an EPA statement. Among the issues are concerns about PFAS, a category of man-made chemicals used to make products with waterproof properties. The health effects of PFAS are largely unknown.

Governors from 56 states and U.S. territories received letters asking to participate in the conference.

Last June, it became widely known that a chemical known as GenX had been released into the Cape Fear River for years. It has been contaminating drinking water in the Wilmington area.

Another unregulated compound known as PFOS has also been found at the Mitchell Water Treatment plant in Greensboro.

Greensboro Division of Water Resources Director Steven Drew said they’ve only experienced one elevated PFOS “spike” a few years ago.

“The water has always been safe to drink,” he said. “One hit in that time, is just that – one hit. You would have to drink two liters a day, every day for 30 years for an increased risk of cancer from this known carcinogen. Greensboro residents are nowhere near that level.”

Naomi P. Brown joined WUNC in January 2017.
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