Tell Biden Administration To Approve Our EPA Petition

Biden Administration EPA Officials

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My name is Emily Donovan and I live in Brunswick County, North Carolina. We have some of the highest levels of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in our drinking water according to a recent EWG nationwide tap water study. The majority of these “forever chemicals'' are coming from Chemours, a former DuPont chemical company, located in Fayetteville about 80 miles north of where I live.

DuPont/Chemours used the Cape Fear River to dump their PFAS industrial waste. We had no idea. Our contamination crisis impacts five counties, approximately 300,000 municipal ratepayers, and over 4,000+ private well owners. Some of us were exposed to these PFAS for over 40 years. Nearly 300,000 residents, my family included, who live downstream from the DuPont/Chemours facility rely on the Cape Fear River as our primary source for drinking water. There are also over 4,000, and counting, North Carolina residents living near and around the Fayetteville facility with private well contamination caused by DuPont/Chemours' irresponsible air emissions.

These chemicals are called “forever” for a reason. They take thousands of years to break down in the environment. There is no proven safe disposal method for PFAS once they are created and they can accumulate in our bodies, altering us at a cellular level. PFAS are known to cause serious toxic effects at trace amounts, including cancer, thyroid disease, birth defects, hormone disruption, decreased fertility, and immune system suppression.

The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently announced it is assessing the relationship between PFAS exposures and COVID-19. There is growing concern PFAS exposures may cause more severe COVID-19 and may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines. Many of my neighbors and friends already live with underlying health problems and the threat of COVID-19 has made many feel more vulnerable.

On October 14, 2020, I joined six North Carolina groups and filed a petition under Section 21 of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) calling for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require health and environmental effects testing on 54 of the PFAS manufactured and/or released by DuPont/Chemours in Fayetteville, NC. These PFAS have been measured in our drinking water supply, in human blood, and in our environment--including air emissions, surface water, sediment, stormwater, groundwater, and locally grown produce.

Our community deserves to know the health effects from chronic exposure to these 54 PFAS. Without them, we lack critical information about the risks associated with our exposures. We lack the necessary knowledge to proactively discuss medical screenings and monitoring with our healthcare providers.

The petitioners are the Center for Environmental Health, Cape Fear River Watch, Clean Cape Fear, Democracy Green, Toxic Free NC, and The NC Black Alliance. The petition asks the EPA to use its full authority and require DuPont/Chemours to pay for testing on the human health effects of exposing innocent residents and workers to a mixture of their toxic PFAS industrial waste for decades.

Residents of the lower Cape Fear River basin were contaminated without our consent. DuPont, and later Chemours, should have provided the toxicity data before releasing these PFAS into our environment. The EPA has the power to make DuPont/Chemours do what it should have done decades ago. This is why I am asking you to join me in requesting the EPA act with a sense of urgency.

The proposed testing in this petition is critical to understanding the health and environmental impacts of past and current PFAS exposure on hardworking families who were put in harm's way to no fault of their own. Part of the petition asks for a human health study of the Cape Fear River watershed, similar to the C8 Science Panel study done in Parkersburg, WV. To ensure the credibility of the study, we want the EPA to outsource the testing with the National Academy of Sciences by forming an independent expert science panel to oversee all aspects of the testing program.

For decades, DuPont/Chemours made billions of dollars in annual profits at the expense of residents in North Carolina. The costs associated with the proposed testing pales in comparison to the profits this company has made. My community deserves justice.

Nearly 300,000 municipal ratepayers are forced to pay for water we don’t feel safe drinking. Brunswick County is spending $100 million and New Hanover County is spending $43 million, with $3 million in annual operating costs, to upgrade water treatment systems that can adequately filter out DuPont/Chemours’ chemical waste. Over 4,000 private well owners living near the DuPont/Chemours facility have lost their property values and are faced with filtration solutions that diminish their quality of life. Requiring DuPont/Chemours pay for these health studies is not a big ask when compared to the costs my community is already being forced to spend.

Medical care from PFAS-related illnesses can be costly for a family. Cancer treatments can cost $1 million for a patient. We live in a confirmed thyroid cancer cluster that spans three counties. Our region suffers from an abnormal amount of rare and unexplained diseases and cancers. This additional disease burden takes a toll on a family not just financially, but emotionally as well. I should know. My husband almost lost his eyesight to a brain tumor three years after moving to the area. We can no longer afford the cost of inaction. We need the EPA to use its full authority to order the requested health tests and require DuPont/Chemours to pay for them.

The Trump EPA denied our petition to hold DuPont/Chemours accountable and has refused to use its authority to order the testing we need. We are now asking the incoming Biden EPA to reconsider this unfair decision and grant our petition. Please join me by signing this letter of support encouraging the incoming Biden EPA to approve our petition.


Sponsored by

To: Biden Administration EPA Officials
From: [Your Name]

DuPont/Chemours used the Cape Fear River to dump their PFAS industrial waste for decades. Our contamination crisis impacts five counties, approximately 300,000 municipal ratepayers, and over 4,000+ private well owners. Some of us were exposed to these PFAS for over 40 years. Nearly 300,000 residents who live downstream from the DuPont/Chemours facility rely on the Cape Fear River as their primary source for drinking water. There are also over 4,000, and counting, North Carolina residents living near and around the Fayetteville facility with private well contamination caused by DuPont/Chemours' irresponsible air emissions.

These chemicals are called “forever” for a reason. They take thousands of years to break down in the environment. There is no proven safe disposal method for PFAS once they are created and they can accumulate in our bodies, altering us at a cellular level. PFAS are known to cause serious toxic effects at trace amounts, including cancer, thyroid disease, birth defects, hormone disruption, decreased fertility, and immune system suppression.

The CDC’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) recently announced it is assessing the relationship between PFAS exposures and COVID-19. There is growing concern PFAS exposures may cause more severe COVID-19 and may reduce the effectiveness of vaccines.

On October 14, 2020, six North Carolina groups filed a petition under Section 21 of the Toxic Substance Control Act (TSCA) calling for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to require health and environmental effects testing on 54 of the PFAS manufactured and/or released by DuPont/Chemours in Fayetteville, NC. These PFAS have been measured in our drinking water supply, in human blood, and in our environment--including air emissions, surface water, sediment, stormwater, groundwater, and locally grown produce.

Our community deserves to know the health effects from chronic exposure to these 54 PFAS. Without them, we lack critical information about the risks associated with our exposures. We lack the necessary knowledge to proactively discuss medical screenings and monitoring with our healthcare providers.

The petitioners are the Center for Environmental Health, Cape Fear River Watch, Clean Cape Fear, Democracy Green, Toxic Free NC, and The NC Black Alliance. The petition asks the EPA to use its full authority and require DuPont/Chemours to pay for testing on the human health effects of exposing innocent residents and workers to a mixture of their toxic PFAS industrial waste for decades.

Residents of the lower Cape Fear River basin were contaminated without our consent. DuPont, and later Chemours, should have provided the toxicity data before releasing these PFAS into our environment. The EPA has the power to make DuPont/Chemours do what it should have done decades ago. This is why we are asking you to act with a sense of urgency.

The proposed testing in this petition is critical to understanding the health and environmental impacts of past and current PFAS exposure on hardworking families who were put in harm's way to no fault of their own. Part of the petition asks for a human health study of the Cape Fear River watershed, similar to the C8 Science Panel study done in Parkersburg, WV. To ensure the credibility of the study, we want the EPA to outsource the testing with the National Academy of Sciences by forming an independent expert science panel to oversee all aspects of the testing program.

For decades, DuPont/Chemours made billions of dollars in annual profits at the expense of residents in North Carolina. The costs associated with the proposed testing pales in comparison to the profits this company has made. We deserve justice.

Nearly 300,000 municipal ratepayers are forced to pay for water we don’t feel safe drinking. Brunswick County is spending $100 million and New Hanover County is spending $43 million, with $3 million in annual operating costs, to upgrade water treatment systems that can adequately filter out DuPont/Chemours’ chemical waste. Over 4,000 private well owners living near the DuPont/Chemours facility have lost their property values and are faced with filtration solutions that diminish their quality of life. Requiring DuPont/Chemours pay for these health studies is not a big ask when compared to the costs contaminated communities are already being forced to spend.

Medical care from PFAS-related illnesses can be costly for a family. Cancer treatments, alone, can cost $1 million for a patient. We live in a confirmed thyroid cancer cluster that spans three counties. Our region suffers from an abnormal amount of rare and unexplained diseases and cancers. This additional disease burden takes a toll on a family not just financially, but emotionally as well. We can no longer afford the cost of inaction. We need the EPA to use its full authority to order the requested health tests and require DuPont/Chemours pay for them.

The Trump EPA denied our petition to hold DuPont/Chemours accountable and has refused to use its authority to order the testing we need. We are now asking the incoming Biden EPA to reconsider this unfair decision and grant our petition.

Please accept this community sign-on letter as a show of support from impacted residents, property owners, and concerned friends who want to see the EPA take the necessary actions and approve our petition.

Thank you,

Emily Donovan
Co-Founder, Clean Cape Fear