Solar panels contaminating our water?

Southeastern North Carolina residents are wrapped up in turmoil over contamination of water in the Cape Fear River by GenX. Meanwhile, in Raleigh, legislators are whoring themselves out to the solar energy and vacuuming up all kinds of cash from the industry’s lobbyists.

Now comes a report suggesting a possible link between the GenX contamination and solar panels:

A scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency confirmed Friday that certain perfluorinated compounds are used in the production of solar panels. In response to a request from the North State Journal, EPA physical scientist Dr. Mark J. Strynar provided 39 records from the SciFinder database used by the EPA to identify applications of PFAS (perfluorinated alkylated substances) with solar panels.

“It appears PFAS are included in solar panel production and thus have the capacity to be sources of PFAS,” Strynar said, via e-mail, after reviewing the records.

Strynar and colleague Andy Lindstrom started research five years ago that first identified GenX contamination in the Cape Fear area downstream from a DuPont chemical plant that operated from the 1970s until 2015. The discovery sparked public outrage in the Wilmington area, resulted in multiple lawsuits over GenX contamination, and the N.C. General Assembly passed a bill to address GenX contamination.

When asked if solar panels contain GenX, Strynar explained that GenX technically is not a chemical but rather a chemical process. The GenX process produces two PFAS compounds commonly referred to as FRD903 and FRD902. Stryman also confirmed that the GenX chemicals are included in the broad classification of PFAS compounds.

According to the EPA, PFASs (which include GenX precursers PFOA and PFOS and the GenX chemical) are a class of man-made chemicals not found naturally in the environment. PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals. Both chemicals are very persistent in the environment and in the human body when exposure occurs. Because the chemicals help reduce friction, they are also used by a variety of industries such as aerospace, automotive, construction and electronics factories or businesses. The long-term health effect of chemicals related to the GenX process in humans is unknown, but studies submitted to the EPA by DuPont from 2006 to 2013 show that it caused tumors and reproductive problems in lab animals.

According to a report provided by the EPA, the GenX chemicals are used as processing aids in the manufacture of Teflon PTFE and Teflon FEP by Chemours. DuPont markets Teflon films for photovoltaic modules that contain Teflon PTFE and Teflon FEP. Chemours was founded in July 2015 as a spinoff from DuPont.

Strynar could not confirm the exact types of PFAS chemicals used in N.C. or U.S. solar panels. Strynar also said he could not confirm whether the EPA or state agencies were investigating solar panel installations as a potential source of PFAS contamination.[…]

5 thoughts on “Solar panels contaminating our water?

    1. Don’t forget the child slave labor that is used to mine the rare earth minerals to make the batteries and panels for all this “green” energy. This really needs to get more play on the news, and if the media were not so in bed with the climate change/enviro-whacko crowd they would do some snooping around about the human cost of the fake green movement.

  1. Be careful when interpreting technology unless you have intimate knowledge of the chemical processes. Wait for the definitive studies.

    Orange juice when spilled on the ground is a hazardous waste.

    1. Here is the major technological problem with both wind and solar – they are intermittent rather than dependable sources of energy. They do not produce anything if the wind is not blowing (or blowing too hard) or the sun is not shining. They means they have to have very expensive backup. Building on the quicksand of “renewable” energy is why consumer electric rates have DOUBLED in 12 months in the Australian states of Victoria and South Australia, and why both are now prone to blackouts and brownouts. It is also why an upstart anti-renewables political organization, the Nick Xeonphane Team captured three of South Australia’s eight federal Senate seats in the last national election.

      The only thing that keeps Wind and Solar afloat financially is a hand in the pockets of either the ratepayer or the taxpayer or both. We need to drive a stake through the heart of this monster.

Comments are closed.