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Health

Bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers ask for tougher safeguards on PFAS health advisories

This map shows areas of concern in the Oscoda area.  PFAs has been slowly spreading for the former U.S. Air Force base for decades.
Steve Carmody
/
Michigan Radio
This map shows areas of concern in the Oscoda area. PFAs has been slowly spreading for the former U.S. Air Force base for decades.

Several Michigan members of Congress are sending a letter to the Trump administration requesting stronger safeguards for dangerous chemicals in drinking water.

A recent Harvard study found six million Americans are drinking water contaminated with a group of chemicals,  per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals, better known as PFAS.

The chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of liver damage and pregnancy problems, among other health issues.

PFAs chemicals have turned up in different parts of Michigan, stemming from decades old contamination.

Michigan Representatives Brenda Lawrence (D-Southfield), Debbie Dingell (D-Dearborn), Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), Jack Bergman (R-Watersmeet) and Dan Kildee (D-Flint) co-signed the letter with other members of Congress asking EPA administrators to reconsider current PFAS standards.

The representatives say new research shows the current EPA health advisory level is too high.

The EPA’s current health advisory level is set at 70 parts per trillion.  

But in a letter sent Tuesday to EPA administrators, more than a half dozen members of Congress say that level may be 7 to 10 times higher than what the minimal risk level is for exposure to the chemical.

The letter concludes:

While critical scientific inputs on PFAS are missing, the information that is currently out there is raising many public questions. The EPA should move quickly to make appropriate changes to the existing drinking water health advisories that effectively communicate and explain risks to the public, as well as provide tools for adequate protection from exposure to these chemicals.

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