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In recent months, the State of Michigan has found several places where drinking water and fish are contaminated by a class of chemicals called PFAS, or poly and perfluoroalkyl substances.PFAS is a family of chemicals that can be found in all sorts of products. But what are the lingering effects of PFAS on our health and the environment?

Michigan changing regulations for firefighting foam containing PFAS

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

Michigan firefighters have new rules for when they use firefighting foam containing industrial chemicals known asPFAS.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed legislation last week that requires local fire departments not to usePFASin training drills and to report any other use of the firefighting foam within 48 hours.  

“It does add another layer (of reporting)”, says Jeff Roberts, the president of the Michigan Association of Fire Chiefs. “But I don’t see it as a bad regulation.”

The new law also requires state regulators to create a program to collect firefighting foam concentrate containing intentionally addedPFAS from local fire departments.

“By signing these bills into law, we ensure any time a fire department uses firefighting foam that contains PFAS, the state is notified and the foam can be disposed of, so these forever chemicals don’t seep into our drinking water and needlessly harm Michiganders,” Whitmer said in a written statement.

Firefighters would have to be trained in how to handle the chemicals. PFAS have been linked to serious health issues, including cancer.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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