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PFAS chemicals found in one Grand Haven elementary school's water

drinking fountain

Robinson Elementary School in Grand Haven is the newest addition to the list of sites with water contaminated by PFAS chemicals in Michigan.

Tests of the drinking water at the school showed levels of PFAS chemicals measuring 144 parts per trillion (ppt). That's well above the 70 ppt health advisory level set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Kristina Wieghmink is with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.

"There's always concern when it's someone's health, especially with children, so we're being very proactive and making sure that we are taking the measures possible to have safe drinking water for our kids and residents," says Weighmink.

Repeat samples have been taken to confirm the initial results. In the meantime, while officials wait for those results, students are being given bottled water.

Robinson Elementary School is supplied with water from a well. The rest of the Grand Haven Area Public School District is served by the Northwest Ottawa Water System. That system has been tested for PFAS and results were below the advisory level set by the EPA. 

Next steps for the school will be determined once the repeat test results come back. 

PFAS substances like perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) have been used extensively in manufacturing, firefighting, and common household products. PFAS exposure in humans primarily occurs through ingestion of water and food. Once in the body, the chemicals accumulate. They have been linked to some kinds of cancer, effects on the immune system, and thyroid problems.

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