Michigan sues company over chemical contaminants in water | Miami Herald
Michigan environmental regulators on Wednesday sued footwear company Wolverine World Wild over widely used industrial chemical contaminants that were dumped into the ground decades ago and have seeped into drinking water, saying the lawsuit is necessary to lock into place response efforts and to reimburse the government for past and future costs.
The complaint , filed in federal court, seeks an order declaring that the Rockford, Michigan-based business’ past disposal of hazardous waste poses or may pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health.
Of nearly 1,200 private residential wells tested in an area north of Grand Rapids, 78 have levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, above the lifetime federal advisory level of 70 parts per trillion.
PFAS were commonplace in industrial applications, including Scotchgard, which Wolverine used in its operations.
Scientists are uncertain about how they affect human health at exposure levels typically found in food and water, but some studies suggest the chemicals might affect fetal development, disrupt hormonal functions, damage fertility and immune systems, and boost the risk of cancer.
State officials said while Wolverine has been responsive, the suit is the next step in formalizing timelines and expectations for cleanup, sampling and other actions.
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"The state of Michigan is committed to holding responsible parties responsible.
Wolverine said it has voluntarily complied with requirements outlined by regulators.