ECU professor to testify against unnecessary use of PFAS chemicals


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — An East Carolina University professor testified Wednesday in front of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee about a group of chemicals known as PFAS.

Dr. Jamie DeWitt also testified before Congress in 2019, according to ECU News Services.

PFAS are human-made chemicals – such as PFOA, PFOS and GenX — that have been used in a variety of industries for more than 70 years. They are used to make nonstick and water or grease-resistant household products, and they are also found in industrial facilities, food grown in PFAS-contaminated soil and are estimated to be in the drinking water systems of 19 million Americans.

PFAS can be found in industrial facilities but also in food and water consumed by people. There was recently a situation where PFAs were found in wells in Onslow County.

DeWitt’s testimony was to bring awareness on ways to swap out these chemicals with more sustainable and safe materials. DeWitt briefly explained how these chemicals can be harmful.

“Close to 99% of people surveyed in the United States have one or more PFAS in their bodies,” DeWitt said. “These compounds can interact with cells and molecules in our bodies to increase the risk of certain diseases. We’ve uncovered a host of diseases associated with PFAS exposure.”

DeWitt says there are over 10,000 chemicals classified in the PFAS family.

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