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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?

Report: 10% of Michigan water systems have detectable levels of PFAS

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

A new report finds PFAScontamination in about one in ten public water systems in Michigan.

PFAS compounds (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) have been linked to serious health problems.  The chemicals were used in a variety of products, from firefighting foam to food packaging.

And in recent years, PFAShas been turning up in people’s drinking water in Michigan.

Last year, Michigan’s PFAS Action Response Team tested 1,723 public water systems around the state, serving nearly 80% of state residents. Samples were collected from community water supplies, schools on their own well, child care providers (and MI Head Start programs) on their own well, and tribal water systems. The sampling tested the water for 14 different PFAS compounds.

90% of the systems tested showed no detectable levels of PFAS.

7% showed levels below 10 parts per trillion.

3% tested at between 10 and 70 parts per trillion. The city of Parchment and an elementary school near Grand Haven tested above the federal action level (70PPT).

The state is conducting follow testing in systems with detectable levels of PFAS. 

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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