GenX is a brand name for chemical process that uses 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy)propanoic acid (FRD-903) and produces 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy)propanoate (FRD-902) and heptafluoropropyl 1,2,2,2-tetrafluoroethyl ether (E1). The chemicals are used in products such as food packaging, paints, cleaning products, non-stick coatings, outdoor fabrics and firefighting foam. The chemicals are manufactured by Chemours, a corporate spin-off of DuPont, in Fayetteville, North Carolina.
The Chemours Fayetteville plant has released GenX compounds into the Cape Fear River, which is a drinking water source for the Wilmington, North Carolina area. The water supply may have been contaminated for a decade or more, resulting in controversy over its potential health effects.
On September 5, 2017, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) ordered Chemours to halt discharges of all fluorinated compounds into the Cape Fear River. NCDEQ cited Chemours on November 14, 2017 for violating provisions in its NPDES wastewater discharge permit, following a chemical spill on October 6.
On May 7, 2018, Cape Fear River Watch announced their intention to bring suit against Chemours in 60 days for numerous Clean Water Act violations. Acting as legal counsel, Southern Environmental Law Center filed the suit under section 505(b) of the Clean Water Act. A non-profit organization in Wilmington, North Carolina, Cape Fear River Watch (CFRW) aims to protect and improve the water quality of the Lower Cape Fear River Basin through education, advocacy and action.
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