A look inside the RTP lab testing for GenX


RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. (WNCN) – North Carolina and federal investigators continue to look into the water of the Cape Fear River where they found levels of the chemical compound, GenX.

Thursday, CBS North Carolina became the first news outlet to go inside the Environmental Protection Agency’s lab in Research Triangle Park where tests are happening.

There, Dr. Mark Strynar is among the team of scientists who are testing water for chemical compounds, including GenX and Nafion.

“This is from the Cape Fear River around the Fayetteville area,” said Strynar about a sample he examined Thursday in the lab.

Earlier this summer, the state announced Chemours discharged GenX and byproducts of Nafion into the Cape Fear River near Fayetteville, flowing downstream toward Wilmington.

Hundreds of thousands use the Cape Fear as a drinking water source.

The news prompted several public hearings.

“We have to do a lot of work to take the chemical off and then we bring it over to an analytical piece of equipment to figure out how much there is,” said Strynar.

He showed CBS North Carolina an example of a sample that had GenX in it.

The levels spiked on the monitor.

“We have been doing that with NC DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality) for the past eight weeks where we get samples and report back to them a number to let them determine is this level above their threshold,” said Strynar.

That work continues.

“It’s really the same method we’ve been using for a long time, just applied to newer compounds,” said Strynar.

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