MDHHS launches biomonitoring project to assess Michigan firefighter PFAS exposure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 12, 2021

CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112, SutfinL1@michigan.gov

LANSING, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) Division of Environmental Health recently launched the PFAS in Firefighters of Michigan Surveillance (PFOMS) project. During this multi-year project, MDHHS will assess Michigan firefighters' average exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) - chemicals commonly found in Class B firefighting foams used to fight fires involving gasoline, oil and jet fuel.

"The findings will help inform activities to minimize firefighters' exposure to PFAS," said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. "Emerging science continues to reveal the effects that PFAS can have on human health, and the firefighters who participate in the PFOMS project will contribute to our understanding of PFAS exposure among firefighters."

The PFOMS project is currently in the process of recruiting career and volunteer firefighters who work for airport fire stations in Michigan, as well as randomly selected municipal fire departments across Michigan. Seven departments are participating in the first year of the PFOMS project, including:

  • ACW Unionville Fire Department (Tuscola County)
  • Alcona Township Fire Department (Alcona County)
  • Cambridge Township Fire Department (Lenawee County)
  • Capital City Airport Department of Public Safety (Ingham County)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport Fire Department (Wayne County)
  • Dorr Township Fire Department (Allegan County)
  • Rochester Hills Fire Department (Oakland County)

Over the course of the next three years, MDHHS plans to recruit between 600 and 900 firefighters to participate. The PFOMS biomonitoring project launched April 28, beginning with the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport Fire Department. The project will cost about $1 million and is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and MDHHS.

For more information about the PFOMS project, visit Michigan.gov/DEHbio or call the MDHHS Division of Environmental Health toll free at 844-464-7327.

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