After we aired “The Forever Chemicals,” we collected questions from viewers like you. We asked Paula Gardner to answer some of these questions. Gardner is a reporter at MLive Media Group, our partner on The Forever Chemicals series, who has covered this topic closely over the past couple of years.
She answered the following audience questions:,
FROM MABYN ARMSTRONG | KINGSTON, ONTARIO
Q1. Can chemicals be removed from drinking water using an ultraviolet light?
Short Answer: No. The UV light is only good on biological contamination, so that’s not going to help you with PFAS.
But there are two types of in-home water filters that can be used with different price tags.
Here’s what MLive’s Paula Gardner had to say about them:
One uses granular-activated carbon. A whole house filter system might cost up to $18,000 to $20,000. But you can get a decent in-home filter system for your sink for about $1,000.
There are ongoing costs from changing the filters, and you have to follow the directions pretty explicitly in order to get the results you want. The reverse osmosis works with ions in the water that’s coming through it. It reverses the flow using some high pressure. And it will use about three times as much water for the same amount that’s coming back out through your tap, so your water bill will be higher.
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FROM MARIANNA TOULOUMES | PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA
Q2. How do I know if my drinking water is safe?
Short Answer: It varies based on where you live and what source your water comes from.
Here’s how MLive’s Paula Gardner explained it:
Depending on where you live there will be different paths to figure out what the answer is. Many municipalities had their water tested from 2013 to 2015 by the EPA, and all of those municipalities if you have 10,000 people or more they will have the results and they can provide that to you if they haven’t already.
If you are on a well system, you’re really on your own. And if you live in an area of contamination or if you just want some peace of mind, you might want to have your well tested by yourself. That could cost $300 to $500. There are a lot of testing requests pending right now, and lab results are taking probably taking 2 to 3 months for the average person.
FROM DAIDRIA GRAYSON | BROOKLYN, NEW YORK
Q3. Where is PFAS water contamination besides the Huron River in southeast Michigan?
Short Answer: Everywhere
Paula Gardner, from MLive Media Group, has been reporting on PFAS contamination. Here’s how she answered:
Many of us actually have PFAS in our homes, and that’s because it’s found in everyday consumer products, so anything that you have in your home that is meant to repel water or stains, that indicates the use of some sort of PFAS.
There is a lot of attention in the scientific community and in the health community to determining which other PFAS may be causing adverse health risk to humans.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration said Thursday that a first round of testing drinking water samples in Pennsylvania for the toxic chemicals known as PFAS does not indicate widespread contamination.
The Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station ranks seventh on a list of the 100 U.S. military sites most contaminated with PFAS, according to a report issued by the Environmental Working Group.
The Wisconsin DNR is slowly looking at addressing the issue of manure spills and their impact, but local farmers are feeling targeted by the potential new regulations.
For decades, sewage sludge from thousands of wastewater treatment plants has been used nationwide as cropland fertilizer. But while the sludge offers farmers a cheap source of fertilizer, there long have been concerns about contaminants in the material — and attention of late has turned to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.
Representatives from a number of Michigan communities—Oscoda, Flint, Detroit and Belmont among them—gathered on Wednesday to call on the U.S. Air Force for action on PFAS cleanup.
State environmental officials are reviewing claims by multiple West Michigan residents that a coal ash storage site near Lake Michigan is contaminating drinking water wells.
Under an executive order from Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, the Wisconsin DNR and Departments of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection have to create a website on the chemicals known as PFAS, collaborate with municipalities and wastewater treatment plants to identify PFAS sources and consider PFAS when developing fish and wildlife consumption advisories.
The National Park Service says three consecutive days of tests have been positive, including two days with no detection of cyanide.