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Human Health Workgroup

Two children running and playing in an apple orchard on a sunny fall day

Human Health Workgroup


To assist Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE), Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), and other state agencies with the evaluation of the public health implications associated with environmental releases of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS). Discuss and build understanding of interdepartmental coordination on public health topics. Be notified of MDHHS public health determinations and regulatory departments' determinations that impact public health. The workgroup will endeavor to provide impacted communities with public health information in a way that is science-based, equitable, and is protective of everyone in Michigan including the most vulnerable and sensitive individuals of Michigan's population.


Jordan Bailey
Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS)

This workgroup is led by MDHHS and consists of representatives from EGLE, MDARD and DNR. Most of its members are environmental health toxicologists and risk-assessors.

Recent Accomplishments

  • Working through MDHHS as the lead agency, the Human Health Workgroup (HHWG) developed public health drinking water screening levels for five PFAS.
    • MDHHS, and by extension HHWG, serves to protect the health of the residents in our state. Our role extends beyond regulations to ensure the best available science is employed through in-depth risk assessments at all sites of contamination across the state, identifying who may be exposed, how they may be exposed, and what protections should be employed - be it mitigation or education - to ensure even the most vulnerable residents of our state are protected from harm from contaminants - regardless of source. Providing public health perspectives and recommending protective actions at sites of contamination is a role MDHHS has been undertaking for decades with myriad chemicals at many sites. Although PFAS are classified as an emerging contaminant, the method by which we determine screening levels, assess risk, and recommend protective actions are tried, true, and recognized by state and federal agencies.
    • These screening levels provide a common well-studied baseline for use by toxicologists as they conduct risk assessments and provide guidance to local health departments and/or implement public health actions directly at sites under investigation.
    • Health-based screening values were developed for the five PFAS listed below because enough scientific knowledge is currently available to make conclusions about them. As more information becomes available MDHHS and the HHWG will continue to update existing screening levels and develop new screening levels for additional PFAS.
      1. PFOS
      2. PFOA
      3. PFHxS
      4. PFNA
      5. PFBS
  • The HHWG saw an unmet need for the development of a document comparing PFAS standards from around the United States and the world that includes information on how such standards are created. The HHWG developed the "Matrix of Agency Screening Levels Worksheet" (link to document here, section 9) to meet this need. Both the general public and various state and local agencies expressed frustration over the complex, evolving and at times inconsistent approaches taken by different agencies to develop PFAS standards around the United States and the world - this comparison document (linked above) clearly lays out the approaches taken by different agencies for the development of PFAS screening levels and compares those to the approach taken by MDHHS. This matrix is still available for public use and, can be updated and revised, as needed.
  • Often, MPART agencies develop protocols or procedures that touch on issues related to human health. With environmental toxicologists and risk assessors among its members, the HHWG is able to provide valuable review and insight to such efforts. Recently, the HHWG has reviewed and provided comment on documents originating from the MPART Air Quality workgroup and the home-raised products sub-workgroup. HHWG also routinely supports activities undertaken by MDHHS, such as health studies that are trying to answer important questions about how PFAS can affect health. Additional recent or ongoing examples include:
    • Review of existing information/published literature on perfluoroethylcyclohexane Sulfonate (PFECHS) to understand what is currently known about its use and toxicity (read the Current Knowledge of Physiochemical Properties, Environmental Contamination and Toxicity of PFECHS" whitepaper)
    • Development of protocol for the toxicological evaluation of PFAS-containing ‘natural’ foam (on waterbodies) to determine if an advisory is needed 
    • Development of responses to public comments received on the health-based values (HBVs) that were used in the development of EGLE's maximum contaminant levels (MCLs)

Next Steps

This workgroup will continue to:

  • Determine how PFAS released in the environment affects public health
  • Discuss and share ways to protect everyone's health, especially those most negatively affected by PFAS
  • Develop science-based information on the PFAS that impact communities
  • Review key MPART products, such as protocols and screening levels, which affect human health
  • Develop and update PFAS screening levels based on the best, most up-to-date science


Public Health Drinking Water Screening Levels for PFAS.

This is the document described above in Accomplishment #1. This document explains how MDHHS/Human Health Workgroup developed the public health drinking water screening levels for several PFAS. It includes the selection of critical studies that were identified by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, and several other states who are at the forefront with Michigan proactively responding to PFAS.

Matrix of Agency Screening Levels Worksheet (Section 9; page 153).

This is the document described above in Accomplishment #2, it is a table of PFAS standards from other agencies, the methods they used to develop those standards and how those compare to the approach taken by the HHWG and MDHHS in the development of their screening levels.

MDHHS Research and Surveillance studies that are supported by the Human Health Workgroup: 

MDHHS has started multiple projects to learn more about PFAS exposure in Michigan residents and to learn more about the links between PFAS exposure and health.

Call 844-464-7327 or visit to learn more about any of these important PFAS research and surveillance projects.

Timeline of Accomplishments

  • 2018/2019: Home-raised foods sub-workgroup formed
  • February 22, 2019: MDHHS PFAS Screening Level document published
  • February 22, 2019: Matrix of Agency PFAS Screening Levels Worksheet published
  • September 23, 2019: MDHHS is named as one of seven awardees of the ATSDR multisite PFAS Health Study
  • February 2020: Completes review of draft screening level document for an MPART agency
  • March 2020: Completes review of draft protocol document for an MPART agency
  • 2020 through 2023: Michigan PFAS Exposure and Health Study (MiPEHS), ATSDR Multi-site PFAS Health Study (MSS), Michigan Chemical Exposure Monitoring (MiCHEM) and PFAS in Firefighters of Michigan Surveillance (PFOMS) planning, recruitment, launch and data analysis.