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North Carolina activists are taking a stand against decades-long PFAS pollution in the Cape Fear River basin, urging the United Nations to declare it a human rights violation. Grassroots organization Clean Cape Fear, led by co-founder Emily Donovan, has sent a letter to the U.N. Human Rights Commission, accusing DuPont and its spin-off Chemours of contaminating their drinking water with carcinogenic chemicals for decades.
Source: Sean Grady/Youtube
The Cape Fear River provides water for 500,000 people, yet unbeknownst to the residents, the Fayetteville Works chemical plant owned by DuPont and later Chemours was slowly contaminating the river and local wells with PFAS chemicals. It wasn’t until 2017 when a local newspaper exposed the contamination, that the public became aware of the issue. Chemours was fined $12 million but has yet to provide reparative assistance for the damage caused.
PFAS chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals,” bioaccumulate in the body, and exposure can lead to serious health problems, including endocrine disruption, cancer, pregnancy complications, and other chronic health issues. Clean Cape Fear claims that Cape Fear residents have been exposed to over 300 distinct PFAS chemicals, making it one of the worst cases of contamination in the US.
Working alongside the U.C. Berkeley Environmental Law Clinic, Clean Cape Fear demands that Chemours and DuPont be held accountable for all water treatment and cleanup costs. They also demand that state authorities deny the expansion permit for Chemours. Though the UN cannot force a response, an inquiry could inspire public pressure for regulatory agencies to act.
As the European Union has proposed a ban on most PFAS chemicals, it’s crucial to raise awareness of the risks in the US, where approximately 200 million Americans live with PFAS in their drinking water. With the help of the UN, activists like Clean Cape Fear hope to create a turning point in the fight against PFAS Pollution.
To Support the cause and help bring clean water to communities affected by PFAS contamination, we encourage you to share this article and stay informed. By raising awareness and demanding accountability, we can work together to ensure everyone has access to safe and clean drinking water.
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