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PFAS report that EPA hid for months recommends stricter advisory level

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A report on the dangers of PFAS exposure that was suppressed by the EPA was released today.

The report details the health effects of PFAS and recommends the advisory level for these chemicals be made stricter.

Emails that surfaced last month found that the EPA feard a "public relations nightmare" would ensue once the report was made public. 

Olga Naidenko, the Senior Science Advisor with the Environmental Working Group who focuses on public health, says according to the report, the federal drinking water standard for PFAS isn’t strict enough.

“The safe level of exposure may be seven to ten times lower than what the EPA has previously said. And if people were previously looking at the EPA numbers, they might have felt they were ok, but in fact the EPA was allowing way too much of this chemical in drinking water,” Naidenko said.

The EPA’s current lifetime health advisory for PFAS is 70 parts per trillion, but the report recommends lowering it to around 12 parts per trillion.

PFAS is a family of chemicals often used in firefighting foam and in nonstick cookware. They have been found at high levels in people’s drinking water across the state.

The report also makes sure to highlight the dangers that PFAS can cause to developing fetuses and young children, which is something Naidenko says has been missing from past dialogues about the chemicals.

“For families with young children, or who are looking to have children, finding alternative drinking water sources is crucial. And although this report doesn’t give a specific number for children, the fact that it points out the increased risk is important,” she said.  

Congressman Dan Kildee has urged the Trump administration to release the report. He said in a statement that residents exposed to these chemicals deserve all the help they can get.

Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow want the administration to put more money for PFAS clean up in the federal budget.

Bryce Huffman was Michigan Radio’s West Michigan Reporter and host of Same Same Different. He is currently a reporter for Bridge Detroit.
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