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PFAS

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Oscoda residents will meet with high ranking U.S. Air Force officials this week to discuss the cleanup of PFAS contamination at the former Wurtsmith Air Force base.

Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Installations, Environment and Energy, John Henderson, will hold a public forum in Oscoda next Wednesday, April 24 at 4 p.m. at the Oscoda Township Community Center.

The DEQ PFAS Investigation Map near Rockford, MI
From Google map provided by Wolverine Worldwide

State officials plan to assemble a panel of scientists this week to advise the state on PFAS contamination.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently directed officials to develop drinking water standards for PFAS. The chemicals are linked to health problems, including cancer. 

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Michigan lawmakers in Washington DC want veterans to receive full coverage for health problems stemming from PFAS exposure.

The industrial chemicals have been discovered in sites across Michigan and the U.S., many of them military bases.

Dan Kildee testifies before the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations
Dan Kildee

Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee (D-Flint) is urging legislators to invest more money in cleaning up PFAS pollution at military bases across the country.

Kildee testified Tuesday before Congress.

He says a study from the Government Accountability Office finds more than 400 military sites in the U.S. have "known or potential releases of PFAS after decades of using firefighting foam."

“Clearly the GAO study shows that this is not only impacting my district, but lots of districts all around the country,” Kildee said.

bathtub faucet running
Jacob Barss-Bailey

Michigan will not wait for the federal government to establish drinking water rules when it comes to PFAS chemicals. That’s the class of chemicals that has been linked to a variety of health issues, including kidney cancer.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced Tuesday that she is ordering the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to start its own rule-making process.

person shaking prescription pills from bottle into hand
User: frankileon / Flickr / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today on Stateside, we look at why people in rural parts of Michigan have difficulty accessing what many doctors consider the most effective treatment for opioid addiction. We also talk about the roots of Islamophobia in the United States, and the financial strain PFAS contamination puts on municipalities.

Water filter
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Plainfield Township could end up paying millions of dollars more than it though due to PFAS.

Residents of Plainfield Township in Kent County, north of Grand Rapids, are dealing with PFAS pollution. State officials believe it was caused by shoe-manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide, and there is ongoing lawsuit addressing who is to blame

Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids
Photo courtesy of the Gerald R Ford International Airport

Samples are expected to be taken from about 49 residential drinking water wells in western Michigan to test for chemical contaminants. Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality says the wells are along Trout Creek in Cascade Township and that the testing is part of its ongoing investigation of potential PFAS contamination sources near the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

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

Environmental activists are accusing the Department of Defense of trying to weaken proposed new cleanup standards for a group of industrial chemicals.

The New York Times reports the DOD is urging the Trump administration to adopt 380 parts per trillion as the new cleanup standard for PFAS in groundwater.

American Sign Language for A - S - L
U.S. Air Force Photo Illustration/Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson

Today on Stateside, Governor Whitmer announced a plan earlier this week to introduce a 45 cent gas tax by October 2020. Are there enough road workers to put all that funding to use? Plus, Ingham County is building a public defender office from the ground up. We talk about the challenges of developing a brand new governmental department. 

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A Defense Department official told a congressional committee that cleaning up PFAS contamination at current and former military bases carries a hefty price tag.

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.

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

Two federal agencies are looking into the effects PFAS chemicals have on people living near military bases, but no Michigan sites are being looked at.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s study will look at volunteers from places that include New York, West Virginia, Alaska, and Texas.

people standing in front of a map
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Muskegon County residents left a PFAS meeting last night with more questions than answers.

County officials have tested 92 residential wells near the Muskegon County Airport since August, and eight have PFAS levels above the EPA clean up standard of 70 parts per trillion.

DEQ

Very high levels of PFAS chemicals have been found in groundwater at a West Michigan manufacturing plant. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says the Viking Corporation used firefighting foam containing PFAS chemicals at its facility in Hastings.

In October, the company began collecting groundwater samples, and the results show extremely high levels of PFAS chemicals. The highest result: 335,090 parts per trillion. That's the total for all the kinds of PFAS chemicals the company tested for in groundwater near the plant.

PFAS sites in Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

PFAS discharges from Kalamazoo's wastewater treatment plant are now under the state limit of 12 parts per trillion for surface water.

That's down from a high of about 53 parts per trillion last summer.

a side by side of Dan Kildee and then a river with pfas foam on it
dankildee.house.gov / Lester Graham

Today on Stateside, the EPA on Thursday released a plan to deal with contamination from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances – better known as PFAS. U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee says the plan shows the agency is “dragging their feet.” Plus, what it’s like to straddle two worlds as the first person in your family to go to college.

Mike Russell / creative commons

Michigan lawmakers introduced new bills designed to make polluters pay. It requires that the polluter clean up the pollutant as much as technically possible.

Democrats Senator Jeff Irwin and Representative Yousef Rabhi introduced identical bills in the House and Senate Thursday. Irwin says there was a polluter-pay law, but the Engler administration changed them in 1995.

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

Today on Stateside, we talk about what's in the Environment Protection Agency's new plan to address PFAS contamination. Plus, Valentine's Day is all about showing love, so how about showing love for the place that you live?  

Van Etten Lake in Oscoda, Michigan
Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

A number of environmental groups, Democratic politicians, and citizens who live in areas contaminated with PFAS are criticizing Thursday's PFAS Action Plan announcement by the U.S. EPA.

PFAS is a class of chemicals linked to health problems that's contaminating many drinking water systems.  

EPA outlines plan for dealing with PFAS in water

Feb 14, 2019
PFAS foam on lakeshore
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Under strong pressure from Congress, the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday that it will move ahead this year with a process that could lead to setting a safety threshold for a group of highly toxic chemicals in drinking water.

Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said the immediate focus would be on two of the most common chemicals in the group, both of which have been phased out by manufacturers but remain in the environment and have suspected links to health threats ranging from cancer to decreased fertility.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

New data shows elevated levels of PFAS in sewers passing through the old Buick City site in Flint.

PFAS are a family of chemicals that have been linked to serious health concerns.   

The term PFAS refers specifically to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, (the term “PFCs,” or perfluorinated chemicals is also sometimes used).

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists are giving a road map to Michigan’s elected leaders for dealing with threats to the state’s land, lakes and drinking water.  

Twenty conservation and environmental groups delivered their recommendations last week.

Lisa Wozniak is the executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. 

Elissa Slotkin
Cheyna Roth / MPRN

Today on Stateside, U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-Holly) tells us what she thinks it will take to end the longest partial federal government shutdown in United States history, now in its fifth week.  Plus, we hear about some up-and-coming artists in the Detroit's music scene, and say goodbye to a legendary guitarist from the city. 

person weighing weed on scale
Unsplash

Today on Stateside, Michigan regulators allow unlicensed dispensaries and growers to reopen in midst of a medical marijuana shortage. Plus, a software engineer who traded building software for building kitchen cabinets.

faucet running water
Marina Shemesh / Public Domain

A new bill in the state Senate would set a limit of 5 parts per trillion for two common PFAS chemicals in drinking water.

PFOA and PFOS are part of a family of chemicals linked to serious health issues – including cancer.

Senator Winnie Brinks introduced the bill. She says research shows the current Environmental Protection Agency advisory level of 70 parts per trillion is too high.

Rachel Kramer / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Authorities are testing surface water from the Grand River after an abandoned plating facility in Jackson was found to have high levels of PFAS chemicals. Michner Plating joins the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's list of more than two dozen industrial sites with high levels of PFAS contamination.

Map of Muskegon County PFAS testing area
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

Health officials in Muskegon County have found 20 more wells with detectable levels of PFAS chemicals.

The county is testing in the area surrounding the Muskegon County Airport because PFAS chemicals have previously been found in wells there.

More than 110 wells have already been tested, and five homes had PFAS levels above the EPA advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.

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

Governor Rick Snyder used one of his last days in office to sign hundreds of bills. One will make it harder for the state to adopt stricter drinking water standards than the federal government.

Citizen groups like Michigan Demands Action against Contamination and Need Our Water -- or NOW --  have been urging state lawmakers to create a stricter clean up standard for PFAS chemicals, which have been found at high levels in drinking water for residents across the state.

Leather straps
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

A West Michigan shoe manufacturer thinks they aren't the only ones to blame for PFAS polluted groundwater. 

Wolverine Worldwide has been at the middle of the groundwater contamination in northern Kent County since the state began warning residents about high levels of PFAS being found in their private wells. 

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