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PFAS

"Here we are again:" Decades after PBB crisis, echoes seen in current PFAS crisis

Nov 18, 2019
Dale Young / Bridge Magazine

In 1973, an accident at a chemical plant in the small town of St. Louis in the middle of Michigan’s mitten triggered one of the largest mass poisonings in American history.

PFAS clean-up costs are increasing. Michigan taxpayers may have to foot the bill.

Nov 18, 2019
Terry and Tom Hula exit a shed that contains a 1,500-gallon water tank on their property in Belmont.
Steve Jessmore / Bridge Magazine

Terry Hula loves Christmas. So much so, she and her husband, Tom, bought a home 28 years ago that was surrounded by a Christmas tree farm.

deer
mwanner_wc / creative commons

Today on Stateside, new draft regulations for PFAS in drinking water take a step closer to becoming a reality. Plus, Detroit struggles to get landlords to comply with rules that protect renters.

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

The state of Michigan is a step closer to establishing the limits of PFAS in drinking water. PFAS is a family of chemicals that have been discovered in high levels in drinking water at sites across the state. Yesterday the Environmental Rules Review Committee voted to move the draft regulations forward. If approved, the new regulations will be among the strictest in the nation. The next step is a public comment period along with public hearings, which are expected to be announced before year's end. 

water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Flint water crisis showed the state—and the country—that clean drinking water isn't something we can take for granted. But it isn’t just Flint. Recent water samples put St. Clair Shores on the list of Michigan communities with high levels of lead in their water. Other areas of the state are worried about PFAS contamination.

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

Former Governor Rick Snyder stirred controversy when he appointed business and industry representatives to the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC), a regulatory oversight board to oversee rulemaking within the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

 

Now, that board is slowing down the advancement of new drinking water standards that limit acceptable levels of chemicals from the PFAS family in Michigan’s drinking water.

U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin
U.S. Congress

U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) is urging the Department of Defense to replace PFAS-foam at military bases faster.

She sent a letter to the head of Pentagon PFAS Task Force, Assistant Secretary Robert McMahon, earlier this week.

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

The Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy sent draft rules that would limit PFAS contamination in drinking water to Governor Whitmer’s office Tuesday.

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team approved the set of rules last Friday after months of gathering input from scientists, citizen groups, and businesses across the state.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A lab error is being blamed for a positive test for chemical contamination with a chemical in the PFAS family in the River Raisin watershed.

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

The federal government is launching a new study to examine the link between drinking water contaminated with industrial chemicals called PFAS and health outcomes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry announced the start of the health study this week.

The agencies are giving grants to several institutions around the country to study PFAS exposure.

"Do Not Eat" advisory for deer in Oscoda still in effect

Sep 20, 2019
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

With hunting season in Michigan beginning October 1, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services are reminding hunters about the “Do Not Eat” advisory for deer taken within 5 miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township.

The advisory was originally issued in October of 2018, after venison was tested and found to have extremely high levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), the most common chemical in the PFAS family. 

Andrei / Adobe Stock

The Home Depot announced Tuesday that it will stop buying from its suppliers any rugs and carpets that contain PFAS chemicals.

"Excluding PFAS from the carpets and rugs we sell is another example of our shared commitment to building a better future for our customers and the planet," Ron Jarvis, The Home Depot's vice president for environmental innovation, said in a written statement.

The state of Michigan has approved new funding to collect and dispose of PFAS-containing foam. The seven-month program will safely dispose of more than 30,000 gallons of class B aqueous film forming foam (AFFF).

Firefighters use the PFAS-containing foam to extinguish gasoline, oil, and jet fuel. The Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) gave US Ecology of Livonia the $1.4 million contact.

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

A report from the National Wildlife Federation report is urging state governors and lawmakers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York to take steps to address the growing issue of PFAS in the Great Lakes. The report says state action is crucial, as it is unclear as to whether a “divided Congress and ambivalent White House” will do enough to confront the problem. 

A section of the River Raisin near Monroe.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The state is retesting drinking water in several Southeast Michigan communities this week. That's after a recent test in the River Raisin watershed found extremely high levels of PFAS. This was at the intake area at the Deerfield water filtration plant.

Filling a sample bottle.
Courtesy photo / Virginia Tech

Legislators in Lansing are introducing a series of bipartisan bills that would change the state’s emergency manager laws and require more testing for lead in drinking water.

One bill (SB 395) would require water tests at “vulnerable population centers” such as child care facilities, nursing homes and hospitals.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report finds PFAS contamination in about one in ten public water systems in Michigan.

PFAS compounds (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been linked to serious health problems.  The chemicals were used in a variety of products, from firefighting foam to food packaging.

State seeks citizens to join PFAS workgroup

Aug 5, 2019
PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

State officials are seeking members for a citizen advisory workgroup to advise the state on chemical contamination.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of chemicals that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems including cancer.

The Citizen Advisory Workgroup would work as a liaison between communities impacted by contamination and the state.

PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan could be among the first states to regulate a chemical known as GenX. It’s one of seven members of the PFAS family of compounds named by the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, or MPART, as potentially requiring a maximum contaminant level for drinking water.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Officials overseeing the former General Motors’ Buick City site in Flint have submitted a plan to the state to expand their investigation of PFAS contamination discharging into the Flint River.

PFAS has been linked to numerous public health issues. 

Lead found in city of Parchment's drinking water

Jul 25, 2019
water faucet
Flickr user Bart / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city of Parchment, outside Kalamazoo, has lead in its drinking water. Officials say the lead exceeds a state action level, which is 15 parts per billion (ppb).

It’s a problem with Parchment's pipes. Last July the city switched to Kalamazoo’s water after chemicals known as PFAS were found in Parchment’s water supply. The new water caused lead service lines to leak the toxic metal into the drinking water.

Tests show the water from July to December of 2018 to be 16 ppb. In the first six months of 2019, it was 58 ppb.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Chanting “Nine Years, No Plan, No Action,” Oscoda residents rallied on Tuesday outside a town hall meeting reviewing the cleanup of PFAS contamination seeping from the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

The chemicals are from firefighting foam used by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) for decades. PFAS have been detected not only on the former air field, but in the groundwater and in nearby waterways.

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

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Friday that looks to address PFAS contamination near military bases.

The National Defense Authorization Act has provisions in it that would require the Department of Defense to treat contaminated water that's used for agriculture.

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

Congressman Dan Kildee says he's disappointed that the Trump administration wants the president to veto a bill that would address PFAS contamination.

The Trump administration released a statement this week recommending that President Donald Trump veto the annual defense authorization bill. The bill has provisions that would require the Department of Defense to treat contaminated water that's used for agriculture.

man screaming at phone
Unsplash

 


Today on Stateside, we hear from two men who say they were sexually assaulted after being placed in adult prisons as teenagers. A class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of other men with similar claims  is finally going to court after years of state opposition. Plus, if you're sick of robocalls (we sure are), we've got some bad news: They aren't stopping anytime soon. 

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

The state of Michigan and the US Air Force have reached an agreement to speed up PFAS contamination cleanup around the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

But not everyone in the city of Oscoda is impressed.

PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan officials say they’ve reached an agreement with the U.S. Air Force to speed up action to clean up PFAS contamination at the former Wurtsmith Air Force base in Oscoda.

The plan includes accelerated action to treat contaminated water and to step up investigating spots where firefighting foam may have been used or tested. Firefighting foam is a known source of PFAS chemicals.

PFAS foam along the Huron River.
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A Michigan science advisory workgroup released recommendations on Thursday for the state to implement some of the strictest standards in the nation for PFAS.

PFAS, or perfluoroalkyl substances, are a family of chemicals that have been found across the state and are linked to health problems including cancer. The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team received health-based recommendations from the workgroup for seven PFAS compounds. It recommends setting drinking water limits as low as six parts per trillion.

Environmental group: EPA not doing enough about PFAS

Jun 6, 2019
Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Following the recent discovery of chemicals known as PFAS in some kinds of food, the Environmental Working Group says the Environmental Protection Agency is not doing enough to deal with PFAS contamination.

Earlier this year, the EPA announced it's moving forward with what it calls an action plan. It could potentially set drinking water standards for two kinds of the chemicals.

 

FDA: Sampling finds PFAS in some food

Jun 4, 2019
Do not eat the fish because of pfas sign
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

The Food and Drug Administration found substantial levels of a worrisome class of nonstick, stain-resistant industrial compounds in some grocery store meats and seafood and in off-the-shelf chocolate cake, according to FDA researchers.

The FDA’s food-test results are likely to heighten complaints by states and public health groups that President Donald Trump’s administration is not acting fast enough or firmly enough to start regulating the manmade compounds.

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