The newest “word” to become ingrained in the vocabulary of many Bladen County residents is GenX — thanks to a spin-off company of Dupont by the name of Chemours.
GenX is a man-made chemical that is used by Chemours to make items like Teflon. It is a spin-off of a previous toxic chemical, C8.
GenX and C8 are similar chemical compounds, but GenX is a smaller strand of atoms than C8 and it’s really hard to separate GenX from water. But the biggest problem with GenX is that it’s a relatively new compound with a lot of remaining questions about its effects.
What we do know is that a number of counties in the region — with Bladen, Cumberland and Sampson at the core — are now saddled with a number of wells being contaminated with the toxic GenX carbon.
Chemours is naturally on the hook for much of the liability, but it is our thinking the company has so far not been taken to task sufficiently.
While the company is paying for testing of wells in the region, there are numerous positive detections of GenX in residential wells that are causing families to go without water — outside of a mere case of bottled water per day supplied by Chemours, which the families are expected to use for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth and even bathing.
We heard a first-hand story about such a scenario on Monday, when a resident who lives near the Dupont plant told of how her residential well had tested positive. Since then, she and her neighbors have not been given any idea what the plan is for fixing the problem, when they can use their well again or even what kind of effects GenX might have on their skin.
To make matters worse, there are rumors that GenX was released into the air and may have carried up to 10 miles from the Dupont plant.
First, a case of bottled water doesn’t a solution make. Chemours needs to step up in a big way — and we will tout a suggestion made recently by County Commissioner Ray Britt, who said Chemours ought to pay to extend the county’s water lines out to the affected residents.
In the meantime, we think Chemours ought to be offering affected residents free hot meals every evening until the crisis passes; we think Chemours ought to provide a case of bottled water for every member of every family affected … every day; and we think Chemours ought to have individuals at the beck and call of any affected individual 24/7 until the situation is solved.
We’re also sure there will be a heavy does of financial retribution coming for what has amounted to an illegal act.
Just about one year ago, many residents were affected by Hurricane Matthew, a natural disaster that put thousands in peril and caused many to be without water and a safe place to live. But Chemours has created a disaster that, for those in the path of GenX, is probably worse.
Chemours needs to start going above and beyond.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“The job isn’t to just fix the problem. It is also to restore the customer’s confidence. Do both!” (Shep Hyken)