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PFAS

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

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team released the findings from the independent PFAS Science Advisory Committee appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The 90-page report includes analysis of the causes and effects of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), as well as 17 recommendations to the state in its ongoing response to PFAS contamination.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

A controversial bill setting new standards for cleaning up contamination is on its way to the governor.

The state House approved the legislation Tuesday by a narrow 56 to 53 vote margin. The bill has already passed the state Senate.

Person driving a go-kart.
Takashi Azuma / Flickr

Today on Stateside, a scientist on the state's PFAS Scientific Advisory Committee breaks down the group's official report on how Michigan should deal with PFAS contamination. Plus, after her sister suffered permanent brain damage on a go-kart ride in 2015, Corri Sandwick has been pushing the state to make amusement parks safer. 

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

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office in Grand Rapids
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan gives an update on the approximately 100 Iraqi immigrants who were detained in police custody for nearly a year and a half before a U.S. District Judge ordered their release last month. Plus, the lawyer representing residents in the Rockford area whose water was contaminated with PFAS weighs in on Senate Bill 1244, which would overhaul Michigan's standards for cleaning up toxic chemicals. 

Wikimedia commons

 

Today, where do bills still passing through the Michigan Legislature stand as we head into the final week of the lame-duck session? Plus, we speak to two siblings who were separated in the foster care system. Now, they're fighting for a Sibling Bill of Rights. 

Legislator explains why school grading system is needed

 

Teacher standing in front of a classroom of children.
Unsplash

On today’s show, a toxicologist shares his concerns over a bill moving through Michigan's lame-duck legislature that would restrict what information the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality uses when determining standards for toxic contamination cleanup. Plus, our education commentator Matinga Ragatz on why it’s important that teachers not shy away from talking about race in the classroom.

State capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Scientists and public health advocates are voicing concern over a bill currently making its way through Michigan’s lame-duck Legislature. They say that SB 1244,  sponsored by state Senator Jim Stamas (R-Midland), could prevent the state from using the most up-to-date science when determining what levels of toxic contamination should trigger a cleanup. 

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

Residents in two West Michigan townships with PFAS contamination could end up paying to be connected to city water.

Officials from Plainfield and Algoma Townships say shoe manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide ended talks that included a plan to pay for the city water extension, but a representative from the company denies ending the talks.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Environmental groups are hoping legislation to address emerging contaminants in Michigan will move during the lame duck session. But lawmakers say there isn’t enough time to pass the bills – and any action will likely wait until next session.

PFAS chemicals are a family of contaminants that are polluting water across the state.

The Michigan League of Conservation Voters says it wants the Legislature to address the issue.

Katie Parrish is with the League. She says some bills have been waiting for a year.

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

Two commonly found PFAS compounds can potentially cause male infertility, according to a recent study.

A study published last month in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that PFOA and PFOS, two of the most commonly found PFAS compounds, can lower sperm count and cause smaller penis size.

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

 

Today, we speak to MLive reporter Paula Gardner, co-author of an investigative report that found PFAS chemicals are still being released in large quantities by businesses across the state. Plus, a new bill proposed in the state Senate would remove protections from some Michigan wetlands on private property. Opponents say it would have devastating effects, but supporters say it's protecting property owners from government overreach.  

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

Northern Kent County residents say they're eager to learn more about a new PFAS chemical exposure study.

Representatives from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Kent County Health Department talked to residents on Tuesday night about the study and how they can participate.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Environmentalists are warning that state lawmakers leaving office in December may act on a wide range of legislation affecting water quality and other issues during their lame duck session.

flight of beers
Flickr/ Quinn Dombrowski

 

Today, there's no federal or state restriction on the level of PFAS contamination considered a public health threat. What there is, is an advisory. We speak to a former EPA official who helped create it. Plus, what can we learn about our own freshwater seas from researchers studying the African Great Lakes?

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Starting today, more than 600,000 Michigan hunters are expected to take to the woods for the state’s annual firearm deer season.

These are not the best of times for Michigan’s deer hunting industry. There’s been a sharp decline in the number of deer hunters. There’s also concern about problems with the herd, from Chronic Wasting Disease to PFAS contamination in some areas. 

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

How well has the State of Michigan responded to the problem of PFAS contamination of our groundwater? That was the focus of a Grand Rapids hearing Tuesday convened by U.S. Senator Gary Peters, D-Mich.

police car
Matt Popovich / Unsplash

 

Today, did the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ignore a staff scientist’s warnings about PFAS contamination in 2012? Plus, the chief of the Grand Rapids Police Department tells us how he plans to implement changes to reduce racial bias following a task force’s review of the department. 

Dustin Dwyer / Michigan Radio

A scientist at the state Department of Environmental Quality says he felt like he was “at the edge of the abyss” when he first realized the possible effects of widespread PFAS contamination in Michigan.

Robert Delaney made the comments at a public hearing in Grand Rapids on Tuesday, hosted by Senator Gary Peters.

Delaney wrote a report on the potential harm from PFAS chemicals in 2012.

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

U.S. Senator Gary Peters is holding a Senate field subcommittee meeting on PFAS Tuesday.

Representatives from the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team, Department of Environmental Quality and some local officials will testify at the hearing.

Volunteers pass out cases of bottled water at Parchment High School.
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Residents of a town near Kalamazoo join a federal class action lawsuit against 3M and Georgia-Pacific over PFAS contamination.

The lawsuit alleges that both companies played a role in the high levels of industrial chemicals that were discovered in the city of Parchment’s municipal water in July.

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.

drinking fountain
Flickr

Robinson Elementary School in Grand Haven is the newest addition to the list of sites with water contaminated by PFAS chemicals in Michigan.

Tests of the drinking water at the school showed levels of PFAS chemicals measuring 144 parts per trillion (ppt). That's well above the 70 ppt health advisory level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kristina Wieghmink is with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.

MDEQ map
Department of Environmental Quality

A site that was once home to a Lacks Enterprises plating shop is being investigated for PFAS contamination.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality opened its investigation of the area, which is in Cascade Township near Grand Rapids, on October 19th. It’s now one of more than 30 sites being investigated for PFAS contamination in the state.

Some commonly found PFAS chemicals have been associated with an increased risk of some kinds of cancer.

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.

Bill Schuette
Bill Schuette / Facebook.com

Has Attorney General Bill Schuette done enough to fight PFAS contamination in Michigan? Some people don’t think so.

Tracy Breihof, a Belmont resident who lives near the Wolverine Worldwide House Street PFAS dump site, spoke at an event on Wednesday organized by the Michigan Democratic Party. She says PFAS doesn’t seem to be a priority for Schuette.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Water activists say the candidates for governor in Michigan are not proposing bold enough plans to fix the state’s water problems.

Activists gathered in Flint to mark “Imagine a Day without Water." The city has become a poster child for Michigan’s issues with everything from tainted tap water to unaffordable bills.

Monica Lewis-Patrick is the president of “We the People of Detroit.” She lays the blame for Michigan’s water issues on outgoing Governor Rick Snyder.

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.

Federal, state, and local officials sitting at a roundtable meeting
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Officials from the EPA, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services met in Kalamazoo to discuss PFAS chemicals, but only a handful of selected speakers could ask questions and share their thoughts.

Many of the speakers, including officials from Ann Arbor, Parchment, and Oscoda, want the EPA and other federal agencies to move faster to solve the issue.

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.

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.

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