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MPART Selects Panel to Recommend PFAS Standards for Drinking Water

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) today named three environmental and health experts to a Science Advisory Workgroup to review existing and proposed health-based drinking water standards from around the nation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

The Science Advisory Workgroup is under a July 1, 2019, deadline to develop health-based recommendations for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to consider as part of its rulemaking process for Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) for PFAS in drinking water.

“MDEQ is committed to delivering on the Governor’s call for action on PFAS MCLs this year,” said MPART executive director Steve Sliver. “These independent experts will help guide us in our shared mission of ensuring safer drinking water for all Michiganders.”

The Workgroup includes three scientists with expertise in PFAS chemicals and their impact on human health. The experts in toxicology, epidemiology and risk assessment are:

Dr. David Savitz

Dr. David Savitz, who chairs the advisory workgroup, is a professor of epidemiology in the School of Public Health at Brown University. He also serves as associate dean for research, and holds joint appointments in obstetrics and gynecology, and pediatrics in the Alpert Medical School. His epidemiological research has addressed a wide range of public health issues including environmental hazards in the workplace and community, reproductive health outcomes, and environmental influences on cancer. He has done extensive work on health effects of nonionizing radiation, pesticides, drinking water treatment by-products, and perfluorinated compounds. He is the author of nearly 350 papers in professional journals and editor or author of three books. He was president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and the Society for Pediatric and Perinatal Epidemiologic Research, and North American regional councilor for the International Epidemiological Association. Savitz is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. From 2013-2017 he served as vice president for research at Brown University. He was a member of the C8 Science Panel that conducted some of the first epidemiologic research on PFAS in the mid-Ohio Valley and has published a number of reports related to potential health effects of PFAS. He recently chaired the Science Panel to advise MPART on the current research related to toxicology, epidemiology, exposure pathways, and remediation of PFAS.

Kevin Cox

Kevin Cox is a managing toxicologist at NSF International, working in the area of human health risk assessments. His areas of work have included health effects assessments for drinking water contaminants, dietary supplements, toy products, and pool and spa chemicals. Prior to his current role, he was the supervising toxicologist for NSF International’s drinking water additives and dietary supplement certification programs. Cox received his Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and history from the University of Michigan (U-M), and a Master of Public Health in environmental health sciences-toxicology from the U-M School of Public Health. He currently is an associate member of the Society of Toxicology. He also has a J.D. from the U-M Law School and is a member of the Michigan Bar Association.

Dr. Jamie DeWitt

Dr. Jamie DeWitt is an associate professor in the Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology of the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Her laboratory’s research program explores relationships between biological organisms and their responses after exposure to environmental contaminants, with a specific focus on the immune system and its interactions with the nervous system during development and adulthood. The research program particularly focuses on emerging aquatic contaminants, especially per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). With respect to PFAS, DeWitt has published 13 primary research articles, six review articles, two book chapters, and edited a book on PFAS toxicity. She has served as an external reviewer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) health effects assessment of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s immune effects assessment of PFOA and PFOS, the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry toxicological profile for PFAS, and was a member of the International Agency for Research on Cancer working group for the assessment of the carcinogenicity of PFOA. Her laboratory currently assesses the immunotoxicity of emerging PFAS that have been designed to replace those that have been phased out of production and that are of concern in North Carolina. She double-majored in environmental science and biology for her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and has doctoral degrees in environmental science and neural science from Indiana University-Bloomington. She completed postdoctoral training in ecotoxicology at Indiana University-Bloomington and in immunotoxicology at the EPA in partnership with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

At the April 4, 2019 MPART members meeting, MPART approved a detailed charge for the Science Advisory Workgroup with a deadline of July 1, 2019, for recommending the health-based values. The health-based values will be provided to MDEQ who will, with the input of stakeholders, create administrative rules. The draft rules are expected to be developed by October 1, 2019, and adopted in the spring of 2020.

The MDEQ is committed to transparency and will ensure there are multiple opportunities for affected communities and stakeholders to have input on proposed PFAS standards. Look for additional information about MPART and the new Science Advisory Workgroup: