The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in partnership with the Kent County Health Department, held clinics from November 2018 to June 2019 for the North Kent County Exposure Assessment (NKCEA). This assessment looked at the levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) found in the blood of people who lived in the area and had been drinking water from private wells that contained PFAS.
The exposure assessment was designed to evaluate the relationship between drinking water with PFAS and the amount in the body. The assessment included collecting blood samples and information on their activities that could result in PFAS exposure. Kent County was chosen for this assessment as the investigation into the area identified a large number of wells with varying levels of PFAS, including some with very high levels of PFAS. Therefore, we were able to plan an exposure assessment that would look at the relationship between PFAS in drinking water and in people’s blood.
Households were chosen from those that have a drinking water well located within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) North Kent County environmental investigation area and whose drinking water well has been tested by EGLE or by Wolverine Worldwide’s contractor and found to have PFAS. Two groups were identified to participate – those who had drinking water levels over the US Environmental Protection Agency’s drinking water lifetime health advisory level of 70 parts per trillion and those who had drinking water levels of less than 70 parts per trillion. A sample of homes in each of these two groups were invited to participate.
The objectives of the exposure assessment were to:
- Determine the mean concentration of 30 PFAS in participants' serum.
- Determine the mean concentration of 30 PFAS in participants’ unfiltered private well water and filtered private well water (for those with drinking water filters).
- Describe the data on individual characteristics that could affect PFAS exposure or elimination.
- Compare concentrations of PFAS in participants’ serum to those among participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a national survey representative of PFAS concentrations in the U.S. general population.
North Kent County Exposure Assessment: By the Numbers
Learn more about exposure assessments, who got to take part in the North Kent County Exposure Assessment, and how these types of assessments can be helpful for public health response. See the FAQ.
The North Kent County Exposure Assessment Participant Demographics and Serum PFAS Summary Report describes the demographics of people who participated in the exposure assessment, provides a preliminary description of the results of serum testing, and compares participants’ serum PFAS concentrations to those of other populations. Read more about the NKCEA results.
See the next steps for the North Kent County Exposure Assessment and find out what other MDHHS PFAS research projects are taking place. Read more about what's next for the NKCEA.
Explore presentations and public meeting notes, press releases, and useful external resources to learn more about the North Kent County Exposure Assessment. See additional NKCEA resources.
If you have questions about the North Kent County Exposure Assessment, call MDHHS Environmental Health at 844-464-7327.