Local Residents Worry Water is Making Their Hair Fall Out

WAXHAW, N.C. “Something is causing this to happen, and not to just her,” says Lani Klein of Waxhaw. Her six-year-old daughter has been losing what she describes as excessive amounts of hair. She says, “I’d watch it fall out.” Doctors have tested the little girl. “No autoimmune, no thyroid, everything, her blood work is completely normal,” says Klein.

Online, Klein found there were more people who live nearby, going through the same thing.

Mariel Rua of Waxhaw says, “I have a tiny bit of hair left, and my hair used to be voluptuous.”

Susan Mann of Wesley Chapel says of her husband, “We noticed all over the sink that he was losing hair.”

Kathy Yasika of Wesley Chapel says, “I started to have, like, clumps of hair (fall out). It was all around the sink and it was every time I brushed my hair.”

Charlene Wagner of Waxhaw says, “Mine’s been falling out since about mid-May,” and, “In my opinion, no question, it’s the water.”

The people who talked with WCCB are on Union County water. They have been to their doctors, who have told them there is no medical reason for their hair loss. WCCB asked county leaders for answers.

They declined to go on camera with WCCB, but did email this statement:

“Two Union County water customers have recently contacted us related to quality concerns. We are committed to continuously providing the high quality of water our customers expect and deserve. Through ongoing water quality testing, we have confirmed compliance within standards set by regulating agencies.

Earlier this year, Union County performed a routine, recommended water quality maintenance that temporarily switched water disinfectants within the distribution system. Both disinfectants are accepted methods and consistent with industry standards. The temporary disinfectant switch is recommended by the EPA and North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, as part of maintaining a high-quality water distribution system.

We encourage any customers who have concerns to reach out to customer service representatives with Union County’s Public Works department at 704-296-4210.”

WCCB then asked the County to name the disinfectants. A spokesperson replied that between February and April, the county temporarily switched from chloramine to free chlorine. They also said the free chlorine was flushed out of the system by the end of April. The county is now back to using chloramine.

But, as people tell WCCB: their hair loss issues persist. Yasika says, “I just want this alleviated.”

Wagner says, “It’s affected a lot of people in the Waxhaw area.”

Rua says, “I want my hair back.”

Klein and her family have been out of town for two weeks. She’s been documenting her daughter’s daily hair loss. She says while they were away, it improved. Now, she’s back on high alert. Klein says, “It needs to be addressed and it needs to be fixed.”

Klein and Wagner have both had Union County test their water, and say the county tells them the results are fine. Everyone who talked with WCCB says their next step is to have the water tested by an independent third party.