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Removing GenX From Water

by Mark Timmons July 24, 2017 29 Comments

What is GenX

GenX in the Water

GenX is a trade name for a man-made and unregulated chemical used in manufacturing nonstick coatings and for other purposes. Chemours (formerly DuPont) facility in Fayetteville, North Carolina began producing GenX commercially in 2009 as a replacement for PFOA. The same chemicals were also produced as a byproduct during other manufacturing processes and it may have been present in the environment for many years before being produced commercially as GenX.

GenX was first introduced to replace PFOA ("perfluorooctanoic acid") which is a compound that is used to manufacture Teflon and other such coatings for stain-resistant carpeting, waterproof clothing, and many other products. PFOA, which is also known as C8, was eliminated by DuPont after they were a party to a class-action lawsuit over health and environmental concerns.

GenX is also associated with some of the same health problems as PFOA, including cancer and reproductive issues. In 2009, the EPA was aware that GenX was likely dangerous to humans, but the information was ignored and the EPA granted DuPont and Chemours (a company spun off from DuPont) a consent order to allow them to use GenX.

I mention this because if you think the EPA is truly a watchdog, you are sadly mistaken. Exceptions like this happen all the time. One can only speculate why that occurs. GenX mixes easily into water and some call it a "water-loving chemical" which means it is very difficult to detect and study.

What we do know is that the body can store this chemical for years making the phrase, "Buy a Water Filter or Be a Water Filter" very appropriate, meaning even if the quality of your water supply isn't bad, it is nice to have a water filter. A lot could be written about these contaminants, and in fact there is a multitude of information already. Local governments are pushing the EPA to provide regulatory guidance for these contaminants, but to date, that has not happened. Frequently, it can take ten, fifteen or twenty years for a newly discovered chemical to become regulated by the EPA.

Removal of GenX From the Water

Much like 1,4-Dioxane, more research needs to be done on the removal of GenX from the water, although Reverse Osmosis has been demonstrated to be effective at considerable reduction of the contaminants. Filtering water through activated carbon has not been proven effective at removing chemicals like GenX. The chemical's genetic structure makes the chemical incredibly resistant to existing water treatment processes and degradation systems to minimize drinking water contaminants.


Whenever I am asked, what should I do about any water problem, and in the case of GenX, I simply put myself in the shoes of the homeowner. If I lived there, what would I do? Here's what I would do. I would use a prolonged contact granular activated carbon tank followed by a whole-house reverse osmosis system like this:

US Water Defender 4000 GPD Whole House RO System - With Permeate Flush, BodyGuard Plus, Anti-Scalant Injection , and 140 Gallon Atmospheric TankUS Water Defender 4000 GPD Whole House RO System - With Permeate Flush, BodyGuard Plus, Anti-Scalant Injection , and 140 Gallon Atmospheric Tank

A system such as this will remove a substantial amount of GenX as well as thousands of other contaminants because reverse osmosis removed the largest spectrum of contaminants of any water treatment process. You can wait years for the EPA to do something, or you can remove the GenX and a plethora of other chemicals from your water TODAY!

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August 19, 2017 Eddie

Hi Mark,

As an alternative to reverse osmosis, is there a filter small enough to filter out GenX? Is reverse osmosis the only way to get this compound out of the water? I’ve been trying to find information on the size of GenX, but all I can find is molecular weight.

August 21, 2017 Lauren A Scott

Thank you so much for writing this article

August 24, 2017 Richard

Great stuff here – any updates on the removal of 1,4-dioxane? What treatment technologies do you recommend implementing?

August 28, 2017 Mark Timmons

Yes. Typically, they provide good products at very inflated prices. They make you think that they have something no one else has and get a high price for it. They are a Marketing Company, not a water treatment company. If you are sick, do you go to a doctor or a Marketing Company? The same is true with your water.

August 31, 2017 Mark Timmons

You are welcome.

September 03, 2017 Mark Timmons

Presently, we do not as it is very isolated. I would check with your local authorities.

September 04, 2017 Mark Timmons

It’s not just RO -it’s a combination of technologies. RO is a part of that equation.

September 06, 2017 Mark Timmons

Did they mention that chlorine combines with organics in the water to form trihalomethanes (THM’s) which are known carcinogens (a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue)? Chloramine which is combining chloramine with ammonia is even more insidious. What about people who are on well water, who have never had chlorinated water? I am not aware of the article to which you refer, but if that’s what they concluded it is myopic and moronic (just calling it the way it is).

If you live on well water, it is a good idea to chlorinate your house plumbing once a year, just to kill any buildup of possible bacteria. If you have a carbon filter on city water, I recommend bypassing it once or twice a year for a day or so and alllow the chlorine to kill and possibe bacterial buildup. If you remove the carbon filter, all you ahve to worry about is cancer!

September 08, 2017 Mark Timmons

Nothing new. This si still evolving!

September 09, 2017 Mark Timmons

Most likely, you should talk to one of our Water Specialists.

September 12, 2017 Mark Timmons

We are talking about a whole-house RO system. If you are only wanting a RO for drinking water, it is a whole lot less than $1,000:

Depending upon water quality, a whole house system can run from $5,000 to $10,000. So, you might ask “Why would I need a whole-house system?” Well, ingestion of chemicals may not be the “primary” route of exposure – Dermal absorption, vaporization and inhalation are also other areas of exposure. In fact, with some chemicals you can absorb more through your skin and lungs than you could ever get by drinking it.

September 14, 2017 Mark Timmons

All I can tell you is what I would do… and I would want the added insurance of an under sink RO.

September 15, 2017 Mark Timmons

I do not respond to questions about products which are obviously inferior. They don’t say how much carbon is in their system, but it is so little it is unbelievable.

September 17, 2017 Mark Timmons

I can’t say, but I would not rely on a portable system for contaminants this complex.

September 20, 2017 Mark Timmons

Yes, that’s why it is so difficult. Prolonged contact GAC and RO are the best choice.

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