Could floating plant islands help remove PFAS from waterways in the Cape Fear Basin?

By Will Atwater | NC Health News | January 18, 2024

Read the full article by Will Atwater (NC Health News)

"The cultural practice of harvesting woodland plants and herbs for medicinal purposes along the Cape Fear River Basin is a risky proposition for tribal communities like the Cape Fear Band of the Skarure Woccon tribe — especially in the years since GenX, a class of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, started to be released into the river. 

Centuries before Chemours began producing GenX chemicals at its Fayetteville Works facility, the Skarure Woccon, also known as Cape Fear Indians, sustained themselves by hunting, fishing and harvesting native plants in the basin.

Modern fish advisories and health studies have caused many tribal community members to alter their relationship with the land. But cultural practices are hard to abandon; some still hunt, fish and collect herbs to supplement their diets — even though for seven years, there’s been an increasing awareness of PFAS lurking in the river, soils and air."