ECU professor studying possible health effects of chemicals in N.C. drinking water
Dr. Jamie DeWitt, an associate professor in Brody’s Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, is part of a collaborative with investigators at North Carolina State University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Charlotte, North Carolina A&T and Duke University that has received $5 million in state funding to study the health effects of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) and the extent to which these compounds have infiltrated the state’s waterways.
The state Legislature allocated the $5 million in this year’s state budget bill to the N.C. Policy Collaboratory, which will disseminate the funds to experts at these universities to conduct PFAS-related research. State officials have said this research model is the first of its kind in the United States.
“I think we are very fortunate to be in a state that has a university system that really makes it possible to bring together our collective expertise for the benefit of the residents of this state,” DeWitt said. “This is a use of taxpayer money that is going to address a problem of direct relevance, right now, to citizens who are drinking water that is contaminated.”
PFAS are human-made chemicals – such as PFOA, PFOS and GenX – that have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries since the 1940s. These chemical compounds are commonly found in commercial household products, industrial facilities, drinking water and food grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or processed with equipment that used PFAS.
Originally published Jan 10, 2019.