Surveying the Waters: UNCW Researchers Continue Efforts to Assess Effects of GenX

Thursday, March 01, 2018

“GenX” has come to refer to more than a population demographic cohort among residents of southeastern North Carolina. UNCW researchers have been working with the Cape Fear Public Utility Authority since the chemical contaminant known as GenX was discovered in the waters of the Cape Fear River in the summer of 2017.

Independent from the work with CFPUA, Christopher Dumas, professor of economics and environmental sciences, and Huili Hao, assistant professor of environmental sciences, are taking the lead on a survey that was sent to a random sample of 4,000 households in New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties to better assess the awareness, behavioral responses and economic impacts of GenX and related compounds on households.

“While other UNCW projects focus on chemistry- or biology-related aspects of GenX, my research focuses on social, economic and policy aspects,” said Dumas. Since GenX affects southeastern North Carolina, UNCW's primary service region, university researchers have the most experience studying the water quality, biology and social/economic issues affecting the region.

He expects most of the survey responses will be received within a month to six weeks with a draft report summarizing the survey data available for release around the same time draft results of the other GenX-related research projects at UNCW are released.

Participation in the survey is strictly voluntary and in order to conduct the best analysis, Dumas stresses it’s important for households who have and have not had their drinking water affected by GenX to complete the survey.  

-- Caroline Cropp