With a $7.4 million federal grant announced this month, researchers at N.C. State University plan to dive  deep into how “forever chemicals” (GenX and other PFAS chemicals) could be affecting the health of an estimated 200,000 people who rely on the Cape Fear River or nearby private wells for their drinking water.

“This is a really important grant because it’s a very important topic for North Carolina,” said Carolyn Mattingly, who heads N.C. State’s Department of Biology. “It’s also becoming clear that this is happening in lots of communities. These compounds are ubiquitous and it’s really important that we learn about them.”

Mattingly will lead the new Center for Environmental and Human Health Effects of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) at N.C. State. The center was made possible by the grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences’ Superfund Research Program. It will bring together collaborators from N.C. State and East Carolina University to study PFAS toxicity and bioaccumulation, as well as how the chemicals move in the environment and how to get rid of them.

Researchers have found PFAS throughout the Cape Fear River basin, including Jordan Lake, which supplies drinking water to Cary, Apex, Chapel Hill and other nearby cities. There are an estimated 5,000 types of PFAS, all of which are man-made. Little is known about their health effects on humans, but lab studies show they may cause liver, pancreatic, thyroid and testicular cancer in animals, as well as other diseases.

To read the full story, visit https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2020/03/18/nc-state-receives-grant-to-establish-pfas-research-center/.
Author: Greg Barnes, North Carolina Health News
Photo: Mark Strynar, EPA