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PFAS

Governor Rick Snyder on construction site
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Residents of a southwest Michigan community could soon have a permanent solution to ongoing water contamination.

A person holding a northern pike
Flicker user megankhines / http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Health officials are warning people not to eat fish from parts of a southeastern Michigan river because of chemical contamination.

The emergency "Do Not Eat" advisory issued Saturday applies to all fish from the Huron River from Oakland County's Milford to the Livingston and Washtenaw county border. That includes lakes connected by the river, including Kent Lake.

kitchen sink
Creative Commons

Kalamazoo city water could be the best temporary solution to ongoing groundwater contamination in nearby Parchment.

The state found chemicals known as PFAS at high levels in Parchment city water late last week. It declared a state of emergency, and free cases of bottled water were made available for residents.

Parts of Cooper Township were also affected.

PFAS compounds are often used in firefighting foam and waterproofing materials. Some of the chemicals have been linked to thyroid and kidney disease.

Tech. Sgt. David Speicher / U.S. Air Force

U.S. military officials say they're willing to pay for clean drinking water for people near Battle Creek, if tests show groundwater contamination comes from its base there.

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

Residents have been lining up to get cases of free bottled water in a Kalamazoo County community.

The state Department of Environmental Quality discovered high levels of contaminants known as PFAS in Parchment city water late last week. The problem also affects some residents in Cooper Township on the same water supply.

Lots of people living in the area have little to no information about these chemicals aside from what they’ve heard on the evening news.

chase and steve moskalik in front of cases of bottled water at Parchment high school
Catherine Shaffer / Michigan Radio

Late last week, Michigan declared a state of emergency in Kalamazoo County. The state told 3,100 residents of Parchment and nearby Cooper Township to stop drinking and cooking with municipal water.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Michigan officials say state agencies will be providing additional help for two communities near Kalamazoo dealing with chemical contamination of the public water system.

The governor's office said Sunday that a state of emergency has been declared for Kalamazoo County over the health concerns in Parchment and Cooper Township, where water test results announced Thursday revealed high levels of substances known as PFAS.

Parchment responds to PFAS crisis

Jul 27, 2018
Maegan Tintari / Flickr

It could be weeks before the water in Parchment, Michigan, is safe to drink, after industrial chemicals known as PFAS were found in its water supply at 20 times the recommended safe level. The recommended maximum safe level of PFAS in drinking water is 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Parchment’s water tested at 1,410 ppt.

Michigan Air National Guard A-10 Thunderbolt IIs and a KC-135 Stratotanker fly over their home station of Selfridge Air National Guard Base along the shore of Lake St. Clair in Macomb County, Mich.
Master Sgt. Elizabeth Hollicker / U.S. Air National Guard

 


 New reporting from MLive has found that Selfridge Air National Guard Base is a major source of chemical contamination in the Clinton River and Lake St. Clair.

MLive reporter Garrett Ellison filed a Freedom of Information Act requst to obtain the results of water testing done by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality at the site in February.

This data indicated five stormwater drainage outfalls near the air base had tested positive for per- and polyfluoroalkyl – or PFAS – contamination. 

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The state will reimburse Kent County for some 8,000 hours it's spent working on groundwater contamination.

Downtown Battle Creek
battlecreekcvb / flickr

The state found two private drinking wells in Battle Creek with high levels of PFAS.

The Department of Environmental Quality tested wells near the Air National Guard base in Battle Creek. The state was already aware that firefighting foam containing PFAS was used on the base for decades.

PFAS have been linked to several health issues, including testicular and kidney cancer.

Scott Dean, communications director with the DEQ, says the department will continue testing.

MDEQ map
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

In response to concerns about groundwater contamination, the city of Kalamazoo told Richland Township residents Wednesday night it could extend its water system to the township. 

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

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.

Gov. Rick Snyder
gophouse.com

The state of Michigan could soon be taking legal action against the company that manufactures Scotchgard.

Governor Snyder asked the state’s Attorney General Bill Schuette to initiate legal action against the company because it makes products that use PFAS.

PFAS is a group of chemicals that are the source of ongoing water contamination around the state.

The chemicals have been linked to changes in liver, thyroid, and pancreatic function in animal studies.

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

 

There are calls today for a state investigation into why the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality apparently failed to act on a warning of PFAS contamination written in 2012.

Studies suggest that PFAS exposure is linked to some cancers, thyroid problems, higher cholesterol and other diseases.

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

The West Michigan shoe manufacturer at the center of a groundwater contamination saga in Kent County wants manufacturing giant 3M to foot some of the bill for the lawsuits it faces.

Wolverine World Wide is the defendant in more than 140 lawsuits regarding drinking water contaminated with chemicals known as PFAS.

3M used PFAS in products like Scotchgard, and Wolverine used Scotchgard to waterproof shoes for brands like Merrill and Hush Puppies over many years.

PFAS have been linked in animal studies to some forms of cancer and other health problems.

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

 


PFAS is a family of chemicals often used in the manufacturing of nonstick and waterproof products. In the past several years, the chemicals have been showing up in high levels in people's drinking water across the state.

News came out Wednesday that a report on the dangers of PFAS exposure had been blocked by officials at the Environmental Protection Agency and the White House. 

Alexis Temkin is a toxicologist at the Environmental Working Group in Washington D.C. She spoke with Stateside on the implications of this new development. 

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A report on the dangers of PFAS exposure that was suppressed by the EPA was released today.

The report details the health effects of PFAS and recommends the advisory level for these chemicals be made stricter.

Emails that surfaced last month found that the EPA feard a "public relations nightmare" would ensue once the report was made public. 

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

There has been a lot of coverage of PFAS in the news. That's shorthand for per- and polyfluorinated substances, and it’s a class of chemicals commonly found in stain proof, water-resistant, and nonstick products.

A lot of the news coverage mentions that the chemicals can be harmful to humans. But what exactly does that mean? 

Courtney Carignanan assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, joined Stateside to help us answer that question. 

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

UPDATE: This story was updated on 6/14/18 at 1:38 pm

Last fall Anthony Spaniola discovered a white foam had washed up on the shore of his family’s cottage on Van Etten Lake in Oscoda.

“It’s unusual and it’s kind of sticky, and it piles up and it’s a little bit sudsy looking,” says Spaniola. “It’s something that would probably attract a child… but it’s not something you’d want your child playing in.”

Spaniola knew exactly what that funny looking foam was.

“Maybe it wasn’t quite panic, but it was a feeling of dread,” he says.

Water filter
Bryce Huffman / Michigan Radio

Plainfield Township installed a PFAS filter at its water treatment plant this week.

The new filtration system will remove a family of chemicals known as PFAS, which have been found at low levels in township water.

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

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is advising people to avoid swallowing the foam that appears on top of the water in the Rogue River near Rockford, Michigan.

The foam is highly contaminated with PFAS, an emerging group of chemicals linked to reproductive, developmental, liver, and kidney problems. 

The agency says PFAS is not easily absorbed through the skin, so contact with the water is OK. But children who might accidentally ingest the foam should be kept from face contact with the water, or swimming.

Dripping faucet
Aunt Jojo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

The EPA held a national PFAS Summit in Washington on Tuesday to dive into issues surrounding the per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances which have contaminated groundwater in sites across the country, including 31 known sites here in Michigan. 

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

Michigan will spend $1.7 million to test water supplies around the state for certain kinds of industrial chemical contaminants. The chemicals are known as PFAS, which stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances.

Scott Pruitt, head of the EPA
Scottpruitt.com / Scottpruitt.com

Water advocacy groups in Michigan concerned about PFAS contamination want Scott Pruitt to resign as head of EPA.

This week, emails surfaced detailing the EPA’s decision to hide a report on the danger of chemicals known as PFAS.

According to the emails, the report was kept under wraps to avoid a “public relations nightmare.”

Chris Coulon, a member of the group Need Our Water – or NOW – says Scott Pruitt should not be allowed to head the EPA after hiding this information from the public.

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

This post has been updated to more accurately describe the EPA's role in Wolverine Worldwide's testing at the company's former tannery site. 

West Michigan shoe-manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide is under more federal scrutiny.

The Grand Rapids Press reports the EPA wants Wolverine to begin testing groundwater and soil at the company’s former tannery in Rockford mid-month.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A recent report and interactive map shows that Michigan is the nationwide leader for known PFAS contamination sites.

Michigan leads the country with 28 known contamination sites in at least 15 communities.

Water faucet
user william_warby / Flickr http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

Groundwater and a few dozen private wells near Battle Creek Air National Guard base will be tested for PFAS contamination beginning Monday.

The family of toxic chemicals, known as PFAS, has been linked to certain forms of cancer as well as other health issues. The chemicals can be found in a wide  variety of commercial products. For decades, The Air Force used a firefighting foam that contains two specific types of PFAS at bases across the country, including at the Battle Creek base.

In 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency established a Lifetime Health Advisory Level of 70 parts per trillion for exposure to those specific PFAS chemicals: PFOS and PFOA.  

Flitn River
Courtesy of the Flint River Watershed Coalition

The state health department has released updated guidelines for consuming fish from Lake St. Clair and the Flint River. The updated Eat Safe Fish guide take PFAS into account.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services already advised residents to be careful of eating certain fish due to mercury, but it considers the family of chemicals known as PFAS as an emerging contaminant.

Fish from Lake St. Clair and certain stretches of the Flint River in Genesse, Lapeer and Saginaw counties have been added to the safe fish guide.

Pixabay

Michigan wants to know which of the state's fire departments have used or are holding fire suppression foam that was made with a family of chemicals known as PFAS.

State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer is surveying more than 1,000 fire departments across the state. That's because some PFAS foams used for fighting fuel fires could be the source of contamination found in groundwater in some Michigan communities.

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