Michigan scrambles to address concerns about chemicals
Rum Creek, a Rogue River tributary, flows through the former Wolverine World Wide tannery property in Rockford, Mich. (Photo by NEIL BLAKE/THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS via AP) While the city of Flint still recovers from a lead-tainted water crisis, Michigan is scrambling to combat potential health risks in other tap water relating to long-term chemical usage.
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, have been detected at military bases, water treatment plants and, most recently, an old industrial dump site for footwear company Wolverine World Wide.
The contaminants, classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as “emerging” nationally, have sparked enough concern that Gov.
The chemicals do not break down easily and can migrate from soil to groundwater.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says scientists are uncertain about how they affect human health at exposure levels typically found in food and water.
At least 1,000 homes with private wells in the Plainfield Township area north of Grand Rapids — near where Wolverine dumped hazardous waste decades ago — have been tested for PFAS contamination in recent months.
Angell said he lacks confidence in state regulators, pointing to their failures that led to Flint’s crisis.
Another lawsuit alleges that a family of four living near Wolverine’s unlined tannery waste dump drank highly contaminated well water for 17 years, causing the father to develop colon cancer, the mother to have a miscarriage and one of their children to develop a rare bone cancer.
The $23 million will be used to hire new state employees to sample and analyze well water, buy lab equipment and help public health departments with unexpected response costs.
How much of that is getting into our systems?