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West Michiganders say proposed PFAS rules are good, but could be better

Winnie Brinks
Bryce Huffman
Michigan Radio
Democratic State Senator Winnie Brinks speaks during the public hearing on the state's plan to regulate PFAS in drinking water.

State officials held the first of three public hearings on Wednesday on plans to set limitson PFAS in drinking water. Certain kinds of the industrial chemicals have been linked to cancer and other health problems.

State Senator Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), spoke during the public hearing. She said elected officials should ensure their residents have clean drinking water.

“People expect this kind of protection for things as basic as drinking water from their government. Let’s not disappoint them again,” Brinks said.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) will be holding two more public hearings this month.

The next hearings will be in Ann Arbor on Tuesday, January 14 and in Roscommon on Thursday, January 16. Officials are accepting public comments through the end of the month.

Dave Fiedler, the Regulatory Affairs Officer with EGLE, said the agency will consider making changes to the proposed regulations based on public comment.

Here are the limits for some PFAS compounds that were recommended to the state's Environmental Rules Review Committee:

PFNA (6-ppt); PFOA (8-ppt); PFOS (16-ppt); PFHxS (51-ppt); GenX (370-ppt); PFBS (420-ppt); and PFHxA (400,000-ppt).

Anne Marie Hertl, West Michigan Regional Coordinator for the Michigan League of Conservation Voters, said the proposed regulations are in the right direction, but some changes could be made.

“Including a class-based approach to set a standard for the combined total of the various PFAS chemicals instead of setting individual limits,” Hertl said.

She also said any rules the state sets should be re-examined every few years and updated based on available scientific research.

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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