Mystery chemical discovered in Greensboro city drinking water

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During the last three years, hydrologists have found water from Greensboro’s Mitchell Water Treatment Plant on Battleground Avenue with relatively high levels of an industrial chemical known as PFOS, which is suspected of causing human health problems and damage to developing fetuses when consumed over time in large enough doses. (Andrew Krech/News & Record)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Water-supply managers here are battling a chemical contaminant from the same family of man-made compounds as the GenX substance that made headlines recently by infiltrating the drinking water in North Carolina’s southeastern region, according to the Greensboro News & Record.

During the past three years, scientists have found water from Greensboro’s Mitchell Water Treatment Plant with relatively high levels of an industrial chemical known as PFOS — short for perfluorooctane sulfonate — which is suspected of causing human health problems and damage to developing fetuses when consumed over time in large enough doses.

PFOS is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s watch list for unregulated contaminants, so called because they may be harmful but there are no nationwide safety standards governing their release into the environment.

The compound belongs to a family of similar chemicals, including GenX, with commercial uses that go back decades and range from waterproofing to protecting carpet from stains and lining bags of microwave popcorn to prevent hot butter or oil from soaking through the paper.

Read full story: The Greensboro News & Record