The bad news is getting worse, just as it has on an almost weekly basis for the past 10 months. They have found, yet again, more pollution around the Chemours plant. The repetitive story has become so routine that it’s almost numbing.

But we can’t allow ourselves to become numb to it. The story is too important. For some of us, it’s about life and death.

Investigators have found 25 more potentially harmful chemicals, present at elevated levels in wells around the Chemours plant that makes GenX, a chemical used in the production of nonstick coatings like Teflon. GenX was first discovered in the lower Cape Fear River, and in the public water supply in New Hanover County. The presence of the chemical was revealed last June, sparking a growing investigation that has found the chemical -- linked to some forms of cancer in animals -- in public and private wells, in rainwater and in the air for miles around the plant, which sits on the Cumberland-Bladen county line.

GenX has been found in nearly 650 private wells around the plant, with nearly 200 of them exceeding the state’s “health goal” for the chemical -- 140 parts per trillion. One well on the Chemours property was found to have 640,000 parts per trillion of the chemical. Three others showed more than 100,000 parts per trillion. The chemical is in the groundwater under the plant, but groundwater moves.

A report made public last week showed elevated concentrations of 25 other compounds related to GenX in wells on the Chemours property. The per- and polyfluorylalkyl compounds, known as PFAS, were found at levels as high as 8.17 million parts per trillion. In a statement, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality said it doesn’t yet know how those chemicals are used or if they are produced at the Fayetteville Works, which was originally developed by DuPont. Some of them have been found at other locations as well.

State regulators may not be able to tie the newly discovered chemicals to the Fayetteville Works, but really -- where else would they come from? Who else in the entire region uses or produces PFAS?

What we’re seeing is the culmination of a sorry legacy, this state’s longtime aversion to regulating industry in any serious fashion. This is not a political issue. Democrats, when they owned state government, long looked the other way. There was little serious inspection done, while regulators were buying corporate reassurances that the dangerous chemicals were used in a “closed loop” process. Nobody ever followed the old Reagan mantra: Trust but verify.

When Republicans took over state government, they weren’t content with the old system of just winking at environmental regulations. They went to work dismantling them and starving the regulatory agencies.

And now we have GenX showing up in the water supply of hundreds of thousands of this region’s residents. We have GenX and other PFAS chemicals in the water and even in rainfall. Lord only knows what kind of health problems we’ve got -- so far, nobody has even suggested an epidemiological study to determine whether all those people ingesting all those chemicals might have suffered illnesses as a result.

Gov. Roy Cooper said last week that he’ll seek an additional $14.5 million to address GenX and all those other “emerging contaminants.” My prediction is that Senate leader Phil Berger will shoot and kill the proposal the minute he sees it and laugh as he drags the carcass down the road. The bad news is going to keep getting worse until the voters wake up and shake up their lawmakers.

Tim White is editorial page editor of the Fayetteville Observer.