PFAS: Explained | Michigan Radio
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PFAS: Explained

Attorney General Dana Nessel
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State officials say they expect to bring legal action against manufacturers, distributors, and other responsible parties behind PFAS contamination around the state, and the opioid crisis.

Attorney General Dana Nessel says she is seeking bids from experts to help the state conduct investigations and bring legal action.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state has finished testing all the public water systems in Michigan for PFAS chemicals. Of more than a thousand municipal systems, 119 are contaminated by PFAS. 

A map showing PFAS sites in Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

Updated, February 25, 2019

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has released results of a 2018 state-wide sampling of public, school and tribal water supplies for per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

Of 1,114 public water systems, 119 have been found to contain some level of PFAS. No tribal water supplies contained PFAS.

MDEQ map
Department of Environmental Quality

Residents living in Cascade Township near Grand Rapids want more state action on PFAS contamination there.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality began investigating the contamination from Lacks Enterprises, a West Michigan auto parts supplier, at its former plating facility in August.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State agencies in Michigan have issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer in Oscoda Township near the closed Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

The state tested deer tissue from areas across the state known to have PFAS chemical contamination, including places such as Grayling, Rockford, and Oscoda Township.

Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The State of Michigan is finding industrial chemicals known as PFAS in the tissue of fish. So it's been issuing “Don’t Eat the Fish” advisories along lakes, rivers and streams. But there are concerns about whether state officials are doing as much as they should. 

Before we get too far into the story, we have to start with a little science.

The reason PFAS chemical contamination in fish is such a concern is because of something called bioaccumulation.

PFAS sites in Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

UPDATE: This story was updated at 3:53 p.m.

This week, the Environment Report is looking at industrial chemicals called per- and polyfluoralkyl substances – or PFAS. 

People all over Michigan have questions about these chemicals that are being found in their drinking water.

US Fish and Wildlife Services

 

Today on Stateside, Michigan's opioid overdoses are at an all-time high. What are we doing wrong in the fight against addiction? Plus, as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we take a look into the work the Michigan History Center is doing to represent a larger group of Michiganders.

Listen to the full show above or find individual segments below.

Overdose deaths continue to rise despite state efforts on opioid crisis

 

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

This week, we’re looking at PFAS chemicals: they're industrial chemicals that have contaminated water sources around the state.

PFAS chemicals are used to make a lot of products stain and water resistant.

betty ford dancing with husband
Gerald R. Ford Museum

 


Today on Stateside, what does Governor Rick Snyder's agreement with Enbridge Energy actually mean for the future of the Line 5 pipeline? Plus, a conversation with the author of a new book on First Lady Betty Ford's legacy.

PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Over the past two years, Michiganders across the state have become aware of the chemicals known as PFAS. They first made news when elevated levels were found in more than 20 private water wells in Oscoda. Now, there are 35 known contamination sites around the state.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

One of the contaminated PFAS sites first documented in Michigan was in Oscoda Township near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The base has been closed for years.  Firefighting training there used a fire suppressant foam containing a PFAS chemical.

classroom of kids
NeONBRAND / Unsplash

Today on Stateside, a conversation about the dismal state of special education in Michigan in light of a recent report that names it as the only state in need of federal intervention to help improve special education curriculum. Plus, an environmental health expert talks about the potential health risks associated with PFAS exposure. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

There have been more news stories in recent months about water contamination from a group of industrial chemicals. PFAS chemical pollution seems to have come out of nowhere. That’s not exactly true. PFAS contamination has been known to be a problem. What's different is we’re discovering the problem is bigger than imagined.

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. This pollution is coming from a variety of sources.