Originally posted on The Fayetteville Observer by Steve DeVane on May 8, 2018.

A suspected carcinogen that hasn’t been used in years has been detected in a Robeson County private well at levels well above the federal guidelines, county officials said Tuesday.

Tests of the well at a residence between the Chemours plant and St. Pauls showed PFOA at levels more than 20 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water health advisory. PFOA, also known as C8, has been shown to cause tumors in animals and has a “suggestive” risk for cancer, according to the EPA.

Also Tuesday, the state Department of Environmental Quality said that Chemours has agreed to take steps that the company says will nearly eliminate air emissions of GenX, a similar compound.

Animal studies have linked GenX to testicular, pancreatic and liver cancer, but it is not known whether those effects are the same in humans.

State officials have been investigating Chemours since June, when news broke that researchers had found GenX in the Cape Fear River downstream from the company’s Bladen County plant.

GenX has since been found in hundreds of private wells around the plant, which is off N.C. 87 near the Cumberland County line. The Robeson County line is several miles from the plant.

DuPont, which previously operated the plant, agreed in 2009 to stop using C8. The company was facing a class-action lawsuit from thousands of people in Ohio and West Virginia related to its discharge of the chemical into the Ohio River since the 1950s.

DuPont and Chemours, which was formed as a spinoff company in 2015, agreed last year to settle about 3,500 lawsuits, with each company agreeing to pay $335.35 million and up to $25 million a year each for the next five years for potential later claims. The lawsuits had alleged that DuPont knew C8 was dangerous, but failed to prevent it from poisoning the water supply.

After DuPont agreed to stop using C8, it replaced it with GenX. Chemours continues to manufacture GenX.

The Robeson County tests that found C8 in a private well also detected GenX at 1,530 parts per trillion, according to a statement released by county Health Director Bill Smith. The statement said tests also showed a related compound, PFOS, at a level of 209 parts per trillion.

The EPA’s water health advisory for a combination of the two compounds is 70 parts per trillion.


The Hannon Law Firm LLC has represented numerous individuals and businesses in landmark cases for both personal injury and property damage resulting from toxic chemicals. The firm has pioneered groundbreaking approaches to protect and compensate its clients in trial courts and appeals courts. If you want to know more about the types of cases we can handle, or have in the past, please see our case results page.

If you own a well contaminated by GenX, Nafion, PFOA, PFAS, or other chemicals, our lawyers can advise you or your rights and remedies. Contact us by calling 303-861-8800, or by filling out the contact form below.