LUMBERTON — Despite concerns that a toxic chemical has contaminated food supplies in Robeson and nearby counties, officials at the Department of Environmental Quality have not seen evidence of GenX beyond Bladen County.
GenX is a toxic chemical that is not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. It is used in the manufacturing of cookware products.
It was discharged for years into the Cape Fear River from the Fayetteville Works plant owned by Chemours, which is roughly three miles from Robeson County. The DEQ has revoked the company’s permit to dispense wastewater in the Cape Fear River.
The plant encompasses 2,150 acres of land in Bladen and Cumberland counties.
Michael Scott, director of the North Carolina Division of Waste Management, said private wells in Robeson County and throughout the region are continuing to be tested for GenX.
Scott said the testing ground, which began as a one-mile radius around the plant, will expand.
“We continue to increase our radius of sampling,” Scott said.
There were rumors this week that honey produced in Robeson County had been found to contain GenX. However, the contaminated honey had been produced in Bladen County; it was found to contain levels of GenX that were 15 times higher than state limits, generating concern that it has been transported through the air.
“There have been reported air emissions of GenX,” said Jill Lucas, a spokesperson for the DEQ. But she added: “We are not specifically aware of its presence in Robeson County.”
The honey was not meant to be sold. The farmer had intended to give it to relatives and friends.
In addition to the continued tests of private wells, the DEQ is also examining groundwater for possible contamination.
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