The office of the Attorney General of North Carolina is investigating the sources responsible for contaminating drinking water in the southeastern part of the state.

Attorney General Josh Stein and his office are looking into what are known as “forever chemicals.” This includes substances like PFAS and GenX. PFAS are used to make things like nonstick coatings and fire suppression foams. They can also be found in consumer goods like cosmetics and food packaging.

According to The Fayetteville Observer, Stein noted that these chemicals don't break down once they're released into the environment. They can also build up in human blood and organs, posing a major health risk.

Researchers have found elevated levels of these pollutants in fish samples in the Cape Fear River Basin, which supplies drinking water to the area.

Earlier this year, North Carolina State University received a five-year  $7.4 million grant to fund a new center to study the effects of PFAS chemical contamination on the environment and human health.

Scientists say there are around 5,000 PFAS chemicals in use today.

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