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Clean Haw River

Protecting our natural resource and community

Chris Whitted


As the only municipality that draws its drinking water from the Haw River, water users in Pittsboro, NC have been at the mercy of upstream polluters, for over 37 known years, who discharge toxic contaminants (e.g. PFAS, 1,4-dioxane, bromides, etc.) into the river. Clean Haw River is a local grassroots organization committed to educating the community and fighting for clean water. We educate community members on the health risks posed to them from our local water contamination and how to safeguard themselves and their families. We also speak publicly against upstream polluters, advocate for short and long term equitable solutions for water users, and participate in clean water policies at the local, state, and federal levels. 


Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals, are a group of about 4,500 different chemical strains that are used to make fluoropolymer coating and products that resist heat, oils, stains, grease and water. PFAS enters ground and drinking water through runoff and waste from factories which process these chemicals. High PFAS exposure has numerous and various effects on human health. These health effects include thyroid disease, increased cholesterol levels, liver damage, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, and various pregnancy development related health effects. 


1,4 dioxane is a synthetic chemical used as a stabilizer for chlorinated solvents. 1,4 dioxane can be found in bubble bath, shampoo, laundry detergent, soap, skin cleaner, adhesives and antifreeze. 1,4 dioxane is cancer causing and enters ground and drinking water from waste from industrial factories which process the chemical. 1,4 dioxane is linked to liver cancer. There is limited data on high exposure and human health effects. 


Bromides are the negatively charged element bromine. Bromides are used in agriculture and sanitation and as fire retardants, and are also a type of sedative medication, used to treat severe epilepsy. This compound enters ground and drinking water through runoff. Bromides are linked to damage to the kidney and effect on the liver. Exposure is also associated with various brain and nervous system damage. There is limited data on high exposure and human health effects. 


Social media: @CleanHawRiver




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