The current event regarding public health that is happening near home is the GenX in Cape Fear Public Utility Authority’s (CFPUA) water stream. I have chosen an article that is from CBS News that concisely describes the issue and has been effectively communicated throughout the nation. The consensus of this article is there has been a possible carcinogen, GenX, that has been dumping into the Cape Fear River for almost four decades, and citizens of Wilmington are angry. The companies responsible for this are DuPont and Chemours. The chemical may have been infiltrating the drinking water that Wilmington residents use. People want answers on why this is happening if it even is in the drinking water, and how will this affect human health after drinking this water for an extended period. As I read the article, I felt the same emotions the residents did. I became angry and peeved that there was no proper communication to the public regarding this issue when it started happening back in 1980. I continuously started asking questions to myself like: Why would a company believe it is entirely okay just simply to release chemicals into bodies or water? How has this not been publicized earlier? What type of ethics do DuPont and Chemours believe in? As I continued to read through the article, I was able to relate this issue to some points regarding this course and provide some insight into my personal questions.
I found that this article relates to public health and some specific points we, as a class, have learned throughout this course along with some implications for public health. For public health as a whole, I have noticed that the approach to this problem has been severely delayed. Also, the proper regulations were not in place to help protect the public health of Wilmington, NC. Some specific points I thought of were from chapters one, five, and six. I remembered that the primary goal of public health is to prevent disease and disability; apparently, this has not been reached due to the possible fact that the chemical in the water is cancerous. I also felt that there needed to be some epidemiologic studies regarding this issue and they need to be conducted immediately to regain the health stability for Wilmington’s drinking water. However, since it is not known the exact concentrations of the GenX in the water supply and if it has even infiltrated the drinking water, I can easily see a problem/limit with even conducting one of the epidemiologic studies. Furthermore, the cause was stated in the article that the GenX is coming from a byproduct of chemical processes from those two companies mentioned earlier. The type of prevention that is taking place is, in a way, secondary prevention. The only reason why it would not be exactly secondary prevention is that the actions in preventing this issue are severely tardy. Residents can start taking the proper steps from now on by being aware of this situation; and become an active member in this conflict and fight for answers that no one is giving them. This article implies that it is spreading the world of what has been happening and provides updates for the general public. Additionally, as this continues to go on, more people can be affected by the GenX in the water if certain precautions are not taken. Overall, this is a deep rooted issue that severely affects the public health of Wilmington and has significant implications, but one can quickly raise questions and concerns to this day about GenX in the Cape Fear River.
After finishing writing my reflection of the article I have chosen, I continued to ask has all of the information indeed reached the public yet? As of today, what are the updates on studies that have been conducted on the Cape Fear River? Have there been studies, yet? From this point on, how will DuPont and Chemours be regulated from not doing this again, because clearly, they have a reputation? Residents just want answers and a plan on how to get clean drinking water again.
Following my consideration of this article, I started to think about how the article was written. I liked that the article was neat and concise. It provides tons of information for its readers and gets to the point while doing so. I admire that the article is not difficult to read so that every person can understand what is going on. Something I did not like was the inequality of the point of views from both the public and the companies. I believe the article was more biased for the people. I am not blaming CBS for doing that, it is their job, but I feel as if the article could have gone a little deeper into the company’s point of view and getting more direct answers from them about their mistake. However, the article was overall a good read and wish that more articles could be this way.