This month, Chemours Co., a DuPont subsidiary, announced plans to expand its Fayetteville Works plant in Bladen County. The expansion move from the notorious chemical company, which has for years endangered families surrounding the plant by releasing toxic chemicals into the Cape Fear River, has alarmed communities and activists.
Since 2019, Chemours has been under a consent order to address the release of per- and polyfluoroalkyl contamination – known as PFAS or forever chemicals – that have been emitted from the Fayetteville Works plant.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, exposure to PFAS can hinder development in children and infants, decrease fertility in women, affect the immune system, and raise the risk of cancer, among many other health risks.
“Chemours’ decision to propose this plan when so many still lack safe drinking water due to its reckless handling of toxic chemicals shows where its priorities lie,” stated Geoff Gisler, a senior attorney for the Southern Environmental Law Center.
In 2017, the Cape Fear Public Water Utility Authority filed a federal lawsuit against the chemical giants DuPont and Chemours, accusing the companies of “a conscious disregard of and indifference to the rights and safety of others” by polluting the local water, soil, and air.
For decades, Chemours has released PFAS into the air and water of communities from Cumberland County down to the coast. According to The New York Times, instead of finding solutions that would have protected the environment, the chemical giant downplayed the dangers of their chemicals – resulting in the contamination of 500,000 North Carolinians’ drinking water.
Years of slashing budgets of watchdog agencies and cutting regulations on polluting companies have directly led to the poisoning of our water. With more and more contaminants being found in the water in and around the Cape Fear River, it’s time for politicians in Raleigh to put the health of the people they represent ahead of the profits of polluting corporations.