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Attorney General Josh Stein Announces Formal Investigation into PFAS Contamination

For Immediate Release:
Monday, August 10, 2020

Contact:
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484

(RALEIGH) Attorney General Josh Stein today announced that he has launched a formal investigation into manufacturers and other parties responsible for per- or polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS) contamination in North Carolina. PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they do not break down once they are released into the environment and because they build up in our blood and organs causing harm to human health.

Previous investigation and testing for GenX and other PFAS found contamination of air, soil, groundwater, and surface water from the Fayetteville Works manufacturing facility – which is currently owned and operated by Chemours and was formerly owned and operated by DuPont. After legal action by the Department of Environmental Quality, Chemours must cease and continue to prevent discharges of wastewater from their manufacturing facility, install air emissions technologiescontrol air emissions, and clean up existing groundwater contamination. Chemours must also ensure clean drinking water supplies for contaminated private drinking water wells, perform tests and toxicity studies, and provide notices to downstream water utilities – all in addition to a $12 million civil penalty.

Today, Attorney General Stein is announcing that he will expand his investigation into PFAS contamination to understand the extent of the damages to North Carolina’s natural resources caused by contamination from GenX and other PFAS chemicals and to further evaluate contamination elsewhere in the surface waters, soils, and groundwater of North Carolina.

“North Carolinians expect and deserve clean water to drink,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “The emergence of forever chemicals like PFAS has led to significant and dangerous pollution – and we must hold those responsible accountable. This investigation is about protecting people from current and future PFAS contamination and restoring North Carolina’s damaged natural resources. My office will not hesitate to bring legal action against any polluters if that’s what it takes to keep the people of North Carolina safe.”

PFAS, including GenX, are man-made chemicals used for the manufacture of nonstick coatings, fire suppression foams, and for many other purposes in industrial processes and commercial products. PFAS exposure can increase the risks of cancer and high blood pressure, harm the development of fetuses, and reduce the effectiveness of vaccines. According to the CDC, most Americans’ blood is contaminated with PFAS.

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