Michigan calls on EPA to advance PFAS research and rulemaking

Agency: Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy

May 23, 2018

For more information: 
DEQ Media Office, deq-assist@michigan.gov, 800-662-9278

Leaders of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) today called upon federal officials to move forward with additional research and rulemaking on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Leadership Summit in Washington D.C.

PFAS compounds are a group of emerging and potentially harmful contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including food packaging, and many other consumer products. PFAS is also found in firefighting foam used by airports and the military.

“We applaud EPA for revising the health advisory level for PFAS to 70 parts per trillion in 2016,” said MDEQ Director C. Heidi Grether. “This helped guide Michigan in establishing the same clean-up standard for groundwater used for drinking water, strengthening our basis for taking legal action against polluters. Today, we’re calling on EPA to move forward with additional research and rulemaking on PFAS, so we have sound science and clear regulations from which to continue our mission of protecting people and the environment from this emerging contaminant.”

In January 2018, Michigan acted to set a new clean-up standard of 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.

“Michigan is home to several active and closed military bases,” said MPART Director Carol Isaacs. “We urge EPA to lead on this issue at a federal level by working with the Department of Defense to accept responsibility for the clean-up of these contaminated bases in an expedited time frame.”

MPART is helping to coordinate the state’s $23 million effort to locate PFAS contamination, identify sources, and oversee remediation activities aimed at protecting the state’s water resources and mitigating risks to the public.

The state has already sampled water at more than 30 sites including industrial, military, and landfills known to have used or disposed of PFAS-containing materials and acted to protect drinking water supplies. Michigan last week launched a statewide study of PFAS levels in public water supplies. The $1.7 million study is the first comprehensive, state-driven one of its kind.

More information on MPART’s work can be found at www.michigan.gov/PFASresponse.

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