EPA Issues Final Health Toxicity Assessment for GenX Chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued its final toxicity assessment for GenX chemicals. A follow up to the public draft version released by the Agency in 2018, this assessment includes a diverse range of information (e.g., dose-response, hazard identification, reference doses (RfDs)) for GenX chemical exposure. In this blog post, we take a look at GenX chemicals and review the focus of the final assessment.

About GenX

GenX is a trade name for a technology developed to create commercially useful fluoropolymers. Initially introduced by DuPont in 2009 with the intent of replacing the persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemical perfluoro­octanoic acid (PFOA), GenX is currently managed by Chemours. While the term “GenX” technically refers to the technology itself, it is often used synonymously with the associated chemical hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA) and its related compounds.

Used extensively in manufacturing for several years, GenX can be found in a multitude of products. Such products are as diverse as the industries in which they are used, and include cell phones and computers, fabrics and related materials, food packaging materials, paint, products for cleaning, and more.

Given their water solubility and low adsorption potential, these chemicals can travel significant distances and are not easily removed from water, resulting in an ongoing presence and continued bioavailability. While individuals can be exposed to GenX in a number of ways, oral exposure (drinking contaminated water, for example) is a principal route. This is the means of exposure on which the final toxicity assessment focuses.

GenX Toxicity Assessment

The final toxicity assessment issued by the EPA found that GenX exposure can impact human health, yielding adverse immune, hepatic, renal, and reproductive effects, as well as others.

The EPA has established a goal of issuing a national drinking water health advisory for GenX chemicals by the Spring of next year, and the release of the final toxicity assessment represents an essential step in achieving it. The assessment's availability will inform relevant parties and help provide them with the information necessary to protect public health more effectively. Moreover, it is anticipated that further regulatory and enforcement actions (both state-level and federal) will follow the final toxicity assessment’s release.

Additional Information to Help Inform Decisions

GenX chemicals have been a topic of controversy for much of the past decade, particularly with regard to their potential health effects. It is anticipated that significant debate will continue to surround the issue for some time, even as further research on it is conducted.

For professionals in need of additional information on GenX, as well as a host of other chemical substances, ToxPlanet offers a powerful suite of decision support solutions. Contact us today for a Free Trial, and also to learn more about our collection of offerings and how they can help address your toxicology and chemical hazard information needs.