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In recent months, the State of Michigan has found several places where drinking water and fish are contaminated by a class of chemicals called PFAS, or poly and perfluoroalkyl substances.PFAS is a family of chemicals that can be found in all sorts of products. But what are the lingering effects of PFAS on our health and the environment?

It will take years for US Environmental Protection Agency to regulate PFAS in drinking water

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Michigan water purification plant operators don't have regulations for PFAS yet. Ann Arbor water treatment plant manager Brian Steglitz. (file photo)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates it will take years to regulate PFAS in drinking water, if it does at all. 

The USEPA has proposed to regulate two forms of the thousands of chemicals in the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances family. PFOA and PFOS were the most commonly used.

It will take a while before the agency decides whether to make a final determination to regulate the chemicals. It will then take up to two years to propose drinking water regulations and another year-and-a-half before they might be finalized. So, drinking water regulations are probably four years away or longer.

Meanwhile, the State of Michigan has already issued draft regulations for seven forms of PFAS. Michigan could issue final regulations on those chemicals in drinking water in April. 

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Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
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