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PFAS

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.

Department of Environmental Quality / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

A state website reports there are 28 sites in 15 communities with known PFAS contaminated levels in the water. 

PFAS is an acronym for a group of widely used industrial chemicals known as per-and-polyfluoroalkyl substances. The department has been accused of being too slow in clean up and too cozy with polluters.

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

A group of lawmakers wants more federal money to address drinking water contamination around the state.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee and U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters included money for PFAS contamination in their latest budget bill.

The family of toxic chemicals, known as PFAS, have been linked to certain forms of cancer as well as other health issues.

Downtown Grand Rapids
Steven Depolo / Creative Commons

Kent County is adding two full-time health experts to help tackle issues of PFAS exposure and opioid addiction.

The Kent County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to approve hiring two full-time epidemiologists for the health department.

Teresa Branson, the county’s Deputy Health Officer, says the department was stretching itself thin dealing with these issues. But adding more staff is good for the department and county residents.

Running faucet
Melissa Benmark / Michigan Radio

Two townships have joined the state’s lawsuit against a west Michigan shoe manufacturer.

Plainfield and Algoma townships are both being affected by ongoing groundwater contamination caused by chemicals Wolverine Worldwide once used at its tannery in Rockford.

Cameron Van Wyngarden, the Plainfield Township manager, says joining the lawsuit wasn’t his first choice.

John Westrock / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1xMszCg

 


 

New information has come to light about the way the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality handled an important warning on possible toxic chemical contamination of groundwater in Belmont, in west Michigan. 

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

A group of Oscoda residents is angry with the governor’s task force that responds to PFAS issues around the state.

The group Need Our Water – or NOW – spoke to the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) about the ongoing groundwater contamination there.

The chemicals known as PFAS were used in firefighting foam at the Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.

BRYCE HUFFMAN / Michigan Radio

News that the state of Minnesota recently settled a lawsuit against 3M caught our eye. That's the company whose chemicals were used by Wolverine Worldwide to water-proof shoes – chemicals that have now contaminated drinking water in the Grand Rapids area.

The $850 million settlement was over water contamination from similar chemicals that are all part of a broader group called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Water running from tap
jordanmrcai / Creative Commons

The Department of Environmental Quality will begin testing 1,300 public water supplies across the state for emerging contaminants known as PFAS.

The family of chemicals, which includes PFOA and PFOS, have been found at high levels in private drinking wells and some bodies of water around the state -- most notably at the Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and in northern Kent County. 

Susan Leeming, deputy director for the Office of External Relations with the DEQ, says the state will be selective in its testing.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

State and federal officials say they expect to make headway this year on an underground chemical plume expanding from a former Air Force base.

The chemicals (perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are linked to firefighter training on the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. The firefighters used the foaming chemicals to extinguish jet fuel fires starting in the 1960s. The base closed in the 1990s. But while Wurtsmith’s been closed for decades,  the chemical plume continues spreading through the groundwater into local wells and nearby open water.

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