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Importing 4 million pounds of PFAS waste

Today, 70 organizations and community groups are calling on the EPA to deny The Chemours Company their request to import up to 4.4 million pounds of per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) waste from its facility in Dordrecht, Netherlands to the company’s plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina.

The groups’ request is contained in a letter spearheaded by multiple non-profit organizations and North Carolina community groups including Clean Cape Fear, Cape Fear River Watch, Toxic Free NC, Center for Environmental Health, Natural Resources Defense Council, and North Carolina Conservation Network. It asks EPA administrator and North Carolina native, Michael Regan, to deny Chemours’ request to use the state as a dumping ground for their PFAS pollution.

After initially granting Chemours’ request, EPA asked Chemours to put import shipments on hold while the Agency addressed concerns by the Governor of North Carolina, members of Congress from affected districts, local governments in the Cape Fear River basin and community groups.

The letter explains: “While EPA’s recent announcement of a temporary pause in the waste imports is a positive first step, we strongly urge the Agency to go further by rescinding its recent approval of these imports and informing the Dutch authorities that it no longer consents to their entry into the U.S. Anything less would fail to protect North Carolina communities from a serious threat of harm.”

WATCH: Cape Fear Courage

“Our North Carolina communities went unprotected for decades from forever chemical pollution. We need environmental justice, not more pollution. Approval of these imports is a reversal of progress and not in alignment with EPA’s own PFAS roadmap. EPA must act to protect the health of our communities by stopping this import permanently,” said Kendall Wimberley, Policy Advocate, Toxic Free North Carolina.

“We are pleased that EPA is reviewing their colossal blunder in allowing PFAS waste to enter our port, be trucked through our highly-contaminated communities, and managed by a proven bad actor, Chemours Fayetteville Works,” said Dana Sargent, Executive Director, Cape Fear River Watch. “Administrator Regan promised us he would not allow any more PFAS to enter our environment; we are holding him to his word and expect a full rescinding of this decision.”

“The communities in our region stand united–we refuse to be a PFAS sacrifice zone. We urge the Biden EPA to protect our human rights and permanently end these dangerous imports from overseas,” said Emily Donovan, Co-Founder, Clean Cape Fear.

PFAS, often called “forever chemicals”, have raised significant concern in the U.S. and globally because of their persistence in our bodies and the environment, and the risks they carry of causing chronic and deadly illnesses. Approximately 45% of the PFAS waste is believed to be made up of a group of PFAS chemicals called GenX, which EPA has found causes several serious health effects at low levels of exposure.

The lower Cape Fear River in Southeastern North Carolina – is the primary drinking water source for over 500,000 people living downstream from Chemours. These residents and private well owners in the region have experienced some of the worst PFAS contamination in the U.S. as a result of four decades of pollution by Chemours and its predecessor DuPont.

“North Carolina is not a dumping ground for any chemical company’s toxic waste,” said Kizzy Charles-GuzmanCEO of the Center for Environmental Health. “Half a million people have been affected for decades by Chemours’ blatant disregard of human health. Today, Administrator Regan has an opportunity to defend this community that has been overburdened by environmental injustice at the hands of Chemours. It is the EPA’s mission to protect people’s health and the environment.”

Source: CEH.org

Contact: Emily DiFrisco, CEH, emilyd@ceh.org

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