Caught between a rock and a hard place:
“People ask me constantly, ‘Is the water safe to drink?’” former Wilmington Mayor Harper Peterson told lawmakers during a hearing on water pollution. “And I can’t answer that. I take a precautionary approach, and I think we all should. I think we shouldn’t be drinking the water.”
Wilmington is downstream of the Fayetteville Works plant run by Chemours (formerly by DuPont), which has for years been discharging a chemical called GenX into the Cape Fear River that serves as the main source of drinking water for southeastern North Carolina. Chemours and DuPont split a $670 million settlement earlier this year over health complaints from people exposed to a chemical similar in makeup to GenX, called C8. The companies have said GenX is safer; no public studies have so far linked it to serious health risks in humans, although it is largely untested aside from some experiments on lab animals that have linked it to health problems.
I can't imagine the pressure he's under. There's over 117,000 people relying on that water, and that's just those inside the City limits. The number's probably considerably higher. It takes a cast-iron set to make the statement he did, and of course some people are not happy with him saying it: