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Democratic lawmakers continue call for PFAS hearings, legislation

Water running from tap
Creative Commons

The state Legislature is back this week and Democrats want to see action on protecting people from chemicals in drinking water.

The term PFAS describes a family of chemicals that’s been used in things like fire-fighting foam. It’s been found in the water of communities all across the state. The chemicals have been linked to serious health problems, including cancer.  

Democrats say the Legislature isn’t doing enough to fight PFAS, although the state put $23 million toward the problem.

Representative Christine Greig says oversight hearings about PFAS are crucial.

“There is so much information out there, but yet we’re only hearing about it in bits and parts. The entire public needs to know about this, needs to know what the current science is, what some of the potential solutions are,” she says.

Democrats also called for movement of legislation they introduced last December.

Representative Winnie Brinks introduced that bill, HB 5375. She says it would change the state’s drinking water standards to not allow as much PFAS in drinking water.

“This cap would be the lowest in the country and would ensure that the water coming out of Michigander’s taps is worthy of being called ‘pure,’” she says.

Republicans say they have been working on the PFAS problem. Representative Laura Cox chairs the House Appropriations Committee. She says she’s had meetings with scientists and experts and included money to help with PFAS in the state’s budget.

Recently, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services put out a ‘do not eat’ advisory for fish. It stretches from a portion of the Huron River in Oakland County to where the river enters Lake Erie in Wayne County because of chemicals in the water.


Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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