Wilmington, N.C. — After the state lowered the amount of the chemical compound GenX allowed before water is assumed to be a health risk, tests show the levels of the chemical in the Cape Fear River were five to six times higher than that threshold.

The state departments of Environmental Quality and Health and Human Services released the updated information Friday afternoon. The Cape Fear River is the source of drinking water for hundreds of thousands of people in eastern North Carolina.

Water near the Chemours chemical manufacturing plant in Fayetteville was tested several weeks ago and found to be well below the state’s preliminary health risk threshold of 71,000 parts per trillion.

But after consulting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the state lowered the threshold to 140 parts per trillion, and initial water samples tested well over that level.

Tests of samples from several weeks ago show some locations show levels of GenX five to six times higher than the new health safety threshold.

According to a released document, the updated threshold is based on toxicology data and is still subject to change. Samples were analyzed at the EPA lab in Research Triangle Park and at a lab in Colorado under contract to Chemours.

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