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WSW: The Dangers Of "Forever Chemicals" Being Found In Michigan

Bottled water is distributed in Parchment due to high levels of PFAS - file photo
Gordon Evans

The Executive Director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters says state lawmakers should try to get to the bottom of why a report showing the dangers of PFASes wasn’t released to the public for nearly six years.

Lisa Wozniak says PFOS and PFOA chemicals have been used since the 1940’s. She says they are known as “forever chemicals” that don’t break down and remain in the human body. PFASes have been linked to cancer and other health problems.

Wozniak says state lawmakers should return from their summer break and hold hearings on the contamination. She says a report authored by a Department of Environmental Quality employee six years ago was not allowed to be viewed by the public. Wozniak says state lawmakers should demand accountability from the DEQ. Wozniak says it shows the need for a culture change at the agency.

State officials have defended their response, and said Michigan is moving faster on PFASes than other states. But Wozniak says states like New Jersey and Vermont have established lower standards of the chemical than the levels set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Wozniak says more communities will likely find contamination in their water. She says there is also a cost issue because Michigan no longer has a “polluter pay law.” Wozniack says some lawmakers have introduced legislation that would lower the state’s threshold for PFASes, require providing an alternative water supply when contamination is found and require reporting the use of firefighting foams containing PFASes.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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