The Environmental Health Threat Posed by GenX

Please pardon today’s “clickbait” title.

GenX” is a family of chemical compounds used in food packaging, paints and cleaning products.  It is popular as a substitute for Teflon in non-stick coatings.  GenX is manufactured by Chemours, a spin-off of DuPont.

Late last year, North Carolina discovered that Chemours had been dispersing GenX into the Cape Fear River, a source of drinking water for 60,000 residents.  What’s more, Chemours had been doing so for decades.

GenX is a new type of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).  PFAS have been linked to certain forms of cancer and other health issues.  And they are increasingly present in the environment.

In Australia, Brisbane Airport reported that 22,000 liters of toxic firefighting foam containing PFAS had leaked into nearby waterways.  In the U.S., Michigan is testing groundwater and wells around a National Guard base for PFAs from firefighting foam.  Washington is the first state to regulate the use of PFAS in food packaging.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has established a health advisory level for safe exposure to two types of PFAS (PFOA and PFOS).  That threshold is no more than 70 parts per trillion over your entire lifetime.

Agilent technologies and solutions are used for the detection and analysis of PFAS.  The EPA used an Agilent HPLC and LC-TOF to identify PFAS in North Carolina’s Cape Fear River and Alabama’s Tennessee River.

Agilent has also published an application note on the analysis of PFAS in drinking water using the Agilent Ultivo Triple Quadrupole LC/MS.

Thanks to Tarun Anumol, Ph.D., Agilent’s Global Environment market manager, for his help with today’s post.


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