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PFAS News Roundup: Potential COVID-19 connection, DOD bill, Michigan lakes and rivers with PFAS foam

PFAS News Roundup: Potential COVID-19 connection, DOD bill, Michigan lakes and rivers with PFAS foam
July 2, 2020 Samantha Cantie

PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.

Keep up with PFAS-related developments in the Great Lakes area.

In this edition: Michigan lawmakers are pressing for a strong set of provisions in a defense policy bill that would address PFAS, Michigan announces groundwater cleanup of a green PFAS ooze on I-696, health officials warn Michigan residents to avoid foam on Michigan lakes and rivers that have PFAS in the water, the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team granted $2.5 million in funding to municipal airport, Senate bill aims to prohibit the Department of Defense from buying items that contain PFAS, 19 U.S. senators wrote to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service about the potential connection between PFAS exposure and COVID-19, and the EPA issues the Final PFAS rule.

Click on the headline to read the full story:

Michigan:

Federal lawmakers from Michigan and other states are pressing for a strong set of provisions in a defense policy bill that would address PFAS. A top priority: Requiring the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create a national enforceable drinking water standard for certain types of PFAS within two years and list them as hazardous substances under the nation’s Superfund law.

A plan has been announced regarding the cleanup of contaminated groundwater from the former Electro-Plating Services facility in Madison Heights.

Back in December 2019, the Michigan EGLE, along with the help of the EPA, started investigating the site after yellow-green ooze containing toxic chemicals was seen oozing onto the shoulder of I-696.

Those contaminants are hexavalent chromium, trichloroethylene and PFAS, officials found.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is warning Michigan residents to avoid foam on Michigan lakes and rivers that have PFAS in the water. The state of Michigan has issued indefinite health advisories for the following lakes and streams that have PFAS foam: Van Etten Lake, Oscoda, Lake Margrethe, Grayling, Rogue River, Rockford, Thornapple Tiver, Grand Rapids, Huron River, Southeast Michigan.

The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team today announced it has awarded approximately $2.5 million in grant funding to municipal airport operators to support monitoring and testing for PFAS contamination.

National:

A Senate bill introduced Monday aims to prohibit the Department of Defense from buying items that contain PFAS. Two Armed Services Committee senators, Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., introduced the PFAS Free Military Purchasing Act, which would prohibit the DOD from buying items which contain perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, including household products, floor wax, sunscreen and other everyday items. A similar bill has been introduced in the House.

Sen. Bob Casey was part of a group of 19 senators to write to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Alex Azar last week to inquire about whether the potential connection between PFAS exposure and COVID-19 was being “thoroughly examined.”

The EPA took another step on June 22 in advancing its PFAS Action Plan by finalizing a Significant New Use Rule for long-chain perfluoroalkyl carboxylate and perfluoroalkyl sulfonate chemical substances, while dropping certain “safe harbor” provisions.


Catch up with other PFAS headlines and news from Great Lakes Now:

PFAS News Roundup: Michigan collects 30k gallons foam, New York burning restrictions, Wisconsin leads 22-state coalition

PFAS News Roundup: Hunting and fishing restrictions expanded, Duluth water safe, attorneys general urge stricter action

MPART: Michigan’s efforts to root out and deal with PFAS contamination

Coping with PFAS: How have families been dealing with PFAS contamination in their communities

PFAS Around the Great Lakes Region: Actions taken in each state or province and standards set, if any


Featured image: An April 6, 2018, photo of Michigan DEQ contractor AECOM sampling for PFAS foam in the Rogue River below the Rockford Dam. The dam is downstream of the former Wolverine World Wide tannery. (KCHD/MDEQ)

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