Freshwater Weekly: March 12, 2021

Posted on March 12, 2021 by

March 12, 2021

This week: Farmers’ Voluntary Pollution Reductions Aren’t Enough + Reporter Finds PFAS Everywhere, Even in His Cat + State is Urging West Michigan Residents to Get Tested for PFAS +Toxic Forever Chemical Updates Around the Region + High Lead Levels Found in Minnesota Venison After 10 Year Study 

Fifty-nine years after Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, the struggles to address and reduce the impacts of toxic pollution continue as shown in the stories below.  However, as the first day of spring approaches, Freshwater Future is energized to keep working on solutions to these challenges. Together with our supporters and partners, we can bring about positive change.

Farmers’ Voluntary Pollution Reductions Aren’t Enough 

As the weather warms, shoreline communities like Toledo, OH are dreading the return of harmful algal blooms as excessive nutrient pollution from farmlands that feed the blooms drain to Lake Erie. Freshwater Future staff member, Kristy Meyer, quoted in this report shares that requesting farmers to reduce nutrient pollution voluntarily has failed and now it is time to do what is necessary, set regulations.

These toxic harmful algal blooms cost adjacent Lake Erie communities tens of millions of dollars from extra costs to treat water, lost revenue from tourism, and the negative impacts on property values. Alexis Smith, Freshwater Future staff member and Toledo resident, also quoted in the article, “These factory farms do the bare minimum to mitigate runoff, sometimes nothing at all, and we’re the ones paying for it.” Currently, farmers receive grants to reduce pollution, yet the burden and cost is borne by residents in downstream communities.

Reporter Finds PFAS Everywhere, Even in His Cat

Studies show 97% of American’s blood is contaminated with the toxic family of chemicals called PFAS that are found in everyday products such as food wrappers, nonstick pans, water and stain repellents, even dental floss. After reporting on these harmful chemicals, journalist Tom Perkins was curious whether he has PFAS in his blood. Lab analysis of Perkins’ blood and that of his cat, Ling Ling, showed elevated levels of PFAS that could contribute to illness. Federal regulations for the entire class of PFAS chemicals are needed to reduce exposure to these pervasive toxic chemicals.

West Michigan Residents Urged to Get Tested For PFAS

West Michigan residents residing in Kalamazoo and Kent Counties are urged to have their blood tested for PFAS as part of a PFAS exposure and health study being conducted by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  To learn more and determine if you’re eligible, please click here.

Toxic Forever Chemical Updates Around the Region

As the understanding of the health concerns from the family of toxic forever chemicals called PFAS increases, more efforts are underway to address these harmful contaminants. Continue to be informed, click here for recent updates regarding PFAS contamination in the Great Lake region

High Lead Levels Found in Minnesota Venison After 10 Year Study

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has been accepting venison from hunters for decades to feed the hungry. Donated venison was analyzed over the past ten years finding over 7% of venison was contaminated with lead from ammunition. The State estimates over a half million pounds of venison was distributed to the public with lead in the last ten years. Adoption of nontoxic ammunition requirements could greatly reduce this source of lead exposure to the public.

Deadline Approaching–Freshwater Future Project Grant Applications Due March 31, 2021


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Images courtesy of Steven Huyser-Honig,
West Grand Boulevard Collaborative, & Yellow Dog Watershed Preserve.