A Freedom of Information Act from the beginning of 2018 recently revealed that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality knew six years ago about the harmful effects of PFAS chemicals (formerly called PFCs) sometimes found in drinking water.
Back in 2012, a DEQ employee alerted the department to a widespread need for research and education about the dangers of PFAS contamination. But sadly, it seems not much was done. Until this year. (I hope it’s not too late and that not too many people pay the price with their health.)
Richard DeGrandchamp, a toxicologist with the University of Colorado who was commissioned to work on the DEQ report said, “I was amazed to find that the levels of PFCs in the general population in blood samples that were collected by CDC had already risen to very alarming levels.” 1 (My emphasis.)
It’s frustrating and infuriating that while the DEQ has known for years, they’ve only recently started to take action. And this is something that Michigan residents should know. The state knew and did nothing.
State Representative Winnie Brinks, a Democrat from Grand Rapids, said, “It’s very discouraging to me that that report was there, that that information was there and our entire department of the DEQ was either instructed to not do anything about it, or buried it intentionally, or possibly just ignored it. Any of those scenarios are really not acceptable.”2
This summer, lawmakers called on the state Legislature to investigate the DEQ report and hold hearings on legislative proposals that would regulate PFAS contamination levels.
For their part, the DEQ says they are working and that Michigan is leading the nation in PFAS contamination research. (Well, they would have to, wouldn’t they?)
We will update you as this story changes and more information becomes available.