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PFAS Statewide Survey Results Becoming Available

Friday November 9, 2018

The Department of Environmental Quality has informed the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency that water sample results from the PFAS state-wide survey are starting to become available for water supplies in Branch, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph Counties.

In May 2018, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) announced plans to conduct a state-wide study of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) levels in public water supplies. The $1.7 million survey is the first comprehensive, state-driven study of its kind.

PFAS compounds are a group of emerging and potentially harmful contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging, and many other consumer products. These compounds also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers, and clothing manufacturers.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) launched a water testing study that would collect samples from Michigan’s public water systems and some 461 schools that operate their own wells. Those samples were collected in Branch, Hillsdale, and St. Joseph Counties in September and October. Some results are now available
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In January 2018, the MDEQ acted to set a new clean-up standard of less than 70 parts per trillion for PFAS in groundwater used for drinking water. PFAS chemicals include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). Michigan is one of only a handful of states to establish a clean-up standard.

It is not uncommon to find low levels of PFAS in drinking water supplies, as PFAS can be found in fire-fighting foams, stain repellants, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food wrappers, and many other household products. They do not break down in the environment and move easily into water.

For health-related questions, contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) at 1-800-648-6942, contact your local health department at 517-279-9561 ext. 402, or visit one of the websites below.

For information on PFAS including possible health outcomes, visit these websites:

Although private residential wells are not within the scope of the study, information on independent testing and filtering options is available from MPART.
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