WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – Years into the GenX water crisis, much of the active PFAS contamination has ceased, but there’s still work to be done, especially when it comes to addressing the health effects of long-term exposure to forever chemicals.
Emily Donovan of Clean Cape Fear is one of the local advocates working on a National Academies of Sciences committee, sharing what contaminated communities like Wilmington need, and demanding better guidance for healthcare providers.
“We didn’t sign up for this, we didn’t give consent to have ourselves exposed,” said Donovan. “Testicular cancer, kidney cancer, liver disease, all of these illnesses have been shown in multiple studies, and the National Academies is looking at how to update the guidance because it hasn’t been updated in decades.”
Dr. Kyle Horton, CEO of On Your Side Action, is also involved in the effort, and agrees the current information out there for doctors and nurses isn’t cutting it.
“Right now it’s kind of dismissive and it can be unintentionally misleading,” said Horton of the current clinical guidance.
Dr. Horton is part of a group of physicians that are asking for patient centered, evidence based recommendations to address health problems connected to exposure to PFAS. She wrote a letter to the national committee and is asking local medical professionals to sign on too.
“We have a lot of data that can link PFAS to some health effects at this point, but that data hasn’t been communicated to doctors, to nurses, to public health professionals, and even though the science is there in some cases, if it’s not communicated to us– busy clinicians, those who are in a small rural public health departments, then we may not be able to apply that science most effectively to take better care of our patients and communities,” said Horton.
The petition is live and leaders say they will be accepting signatures for the next week before its sent off to the national academies of sciences.
The final guidelines are expected to be finalized next May.
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