Since the 1940’s a number of products made to repel oil and water, as well as fire retardants, contain the man-made chemicals, perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Today, PFAS are found in nonstick cookware, flame- and water-resistant clothing, food wrappers, plumber’s tape, stain prevention products, and even coatings on wires. Unfortunately, now we know PFAS are toxic, harmful to human health, and extremely persistent in the environment.
According to the US EPA, a “certain number of PFAS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the US.” However, since they are still produced internationally many imported products such as textiles like carpet and leather, may contain PFAS. Dispersal into the environment is not limited to industrial applications: these compounds are also frequently used in heavy equipment fluids (e.g., agricultural and logging machinery) and are even employed in so-called “silent” sports like skiing (fluorocarbon-type waxes) and biking (chain and gear lubricants). Well water in these rural areas can be prone to PFAS contamination due to their use.
Freshwater Future, partnering with the University of Michigan Biological Station, wants to ensure that residents using private wells in communities with levels of PFAS above safe recommendations by the Center for Disease Control levels but that is lower than the state threshold for action (70 ppt) are able to access this information about their water, and make decisions for their families. We will be offering reliable and affordable PFAS testing in the near future, and anticipate being able to test water in the coming months.
Fish Advisories for the State of Michigan: “Do Not Eat” advisories on fish
Michigan Public Water Supply PFAS Testing Data: Testing locations and data. State of Michigan is currently testing more than 1,400 sources of public water supplies across the state. This list is updated as additional water supplies tested.
Center for Disease Control report on health impacts from PFAS exposure: Center for Disease Control (CDC): A Broad Overview of PFAS and its Health Implications
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