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New PFAS standards to go into effect in August

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New standards from how much toxic chemicals will be allowed in Michigan’s drinking water will soon go into effect after a regulation committee this week adjourned.

It’s been three years since the discovery of toxic polyfluorinated alkyl chemicals, commonly known as PFAS and PFOA in the private drinking water wells of a number of homes in the Rockford and Plainfield Township areas.

Hundreds of lawsuits were filed against local shoemaker Wolverine Worldwide, a company that back in the 1960’s legally and illegally dumped old drum barrels of PFAS in pits and left them there for decades.

But the discovery shined a light on PFAS, and as it turns out, its been discovered in drinking water supplies not only in Michigan but across the country, as the chemical is commonly used in firefighting foam.

While the Environmental Protection Agency has set the drinking water safety threshold for PFAS at 70 parts per trillion, environmental activists have argued for years that the number is far too high, and should be anywhere from 6-12 parts per trillion. And that number should be enforceable, meaning, required by law.

This week, however, Secretary of State Joselyn Benson announced that a new set of PFAS regulations would go into effect on August 3rd, and require companies that use the chemical to be routinely tested.

For PFOS, its 16-parts per trillion, for PFOA it’s 8 parts-per-trillion. A big win for environmental activists, however some argue that the number should be an absolute zero, as the chemical never leaves the body and can liver and kidney cancers if enough is ingested, thus earning its nickname, the “forever chemical.”
 

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