Wilmington mom takes GenX worries into her own hands

Sunday, July 9, 2017
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WILMINGTON -- In June, GenX, a dangerous industrial chemical, was discovered in the Cape Fear River, and the question of whether the water is safe to drink is still up in the air.

Now one Wilmington woman said she is taking things into her own hands, WWAY reports.

Beth Markesino is no stranger to how cancerous toxins can affect the water we drink.

Markesino moved to Wilmington from Michigan just a few years ago where she helped out during the Flint water crisis and now she is spearheading an investigation of her own.

"My heart dropped in my stomach," she said. "It was just a, just the weirdest. I just couldn't believe that I was like I'm going through this, I'm going through this again."

For the second time, Markesino is dealing with what she is calling a water crisis.

"Water is a necessity. Not an option," Markesino said.

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During the Flint water crisis, she helped raise money for clean water through a virtual running group. Now, she is doing what she can to get answers about GenX for the community.

"Nobody is telling us should we drink it," Markesino said. "Should we bathe in it? And these are the people that we elected. The people we go to in our sickest time and they can't tell us anything."

After the news broke about GenX, Markesino created a Facebook page, "Wilmington's Stop GenX in our Water." The page started with about 20 members a few weeks ago and now it has nearly 10,000.

"So the EPA, the DEQ everybody is passing the buck," Markesino said. "Where does the buck stop, at who? Who is responsible for protecting the citizens."

With no answers, Markesino collected eight water samples from across the Cape Fear and drove 13 hours to Michigan to get them tested.

"We don't have time to look into it," she said. "Our citizens need water now."

While she waits for the results, she can't help but think about the son she lost in October, and whether or not the water contributed to his kidney failure.

"And I didn't know, that the water that I was drinking from the tap was killing my son," Markesino said. "You know, I don't know that for sure but my son's not here I can't hold him. He's buried."

Although there is no proof yet that GenX causes cancer, it is a thought many people on the Facebook page are considering.

"So I fight for my children," she said. "I fight for my one day grandchildren. I fight for our community."

Markesino has started a petition to declare a state of emergency in order to get money for clean, safe water.

"I'm in for the long haul," she said. "I'm going to see this through all the way to the end, like a marathon."