PFAS News Roundup: New compound in Artic seawater, Michigan and NY set new rules

PFAS News Roundup: New compound in Artic seawater, Michigan and NY set new rules
July 31, 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.

Click on the headline to read the full story:


Starting Aug. 3, Michigan will have some of the strictest rules in the nation limiting chemical contaminants in drinking water supplies.

The rules governing 2,700 public water supplies exceed federal standards and could mean increased compliance costs for sites that fall short of the standards.

The new rules are likely to land more than 40 new sites onto the state’s list of PFAS-contaminated areas, bringing the total to around 140.

A major project to stop PFAS discharges in Flint – the rerouting of a storm sewer line through Buick City – has restarted and is expected to be finished sometime this fall.

The project involves replacing and rerouting more than 3,600 feet of underground storm sewer lines in an effort to stop PFAS contamination from continuing to spill into the Flint River.

New York:

In what may be the latest battlefront over potentially toxic PFAS chemicals in the environment, the state Legislature has approved a bill that would ban using the substances in food packaging.

Bills to ban PFAS used in food containers that were sponsored by Manhattan Sen. Brad Hoylman and Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, both Democrats, were approved by lawmakers last week.

It isn’t yet clear if Gov. Andrew Cuomo will sign the bill.

The state’s Public Health and Planning Council on Thursday voted to set the levels and finalized rules requiring water system monitoring for PFAS.

The regulations now go to state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker, who participated in the limit-setting process. He is expected to approve them imminently.


A Marinette manufacturer of firefighting foam is cleaning up a spill of contaminated water containing arsenic and so-called “forever chemicals” known as PFAS.

Tyco Fire Products, part of Johnson Controls International, reported the spill to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on Sunday around 9 p.m., according to a DNR release.

Company officials said a mixture of river water and contaminated groundwater at its 1 Stanton St. facility was accidentally released, making its way into storm water drains that flow into the Menominee River.

United States:

Researchers reporting in Environmental Science & Technology have studied the transport of 29 PFAS into and out of the Arctic Ocean, detecting a newer compound for the first time in Arctic seawater.

Aboard an icebreaker research ship, the team collected water samples along two Fram Strait currents entering and exiting the Arctic Ocean and along a path from Europe’s North Sea to the Arctic Ocean. Using mass spectrometry, the researchers detected 11 PFAS in the ocean water, including PFOA, HFPO-DA and other long- and short-chain PFAS. This was the first time that HFPO-DA had been detected in seawater from a remote region, indicating that the compound can be transported long distances.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that it has engaged the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to coordinate a Workshop on Federal Government Human Health Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Research. Aggressively addressing PFAS has been an active and ongoing priority for the EPA and entire federal family. As outlined in EPA’s PFAS Action Plan, this collaborative workshop will ensure coordination of PFAS research across the federal government.

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

PFAS News Roundup: Research suggests link with COVID-19, disposal methods increase contamination

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

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

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Featured image: Flint River, Flint, Mich. (Image: Andrew Jameson, Wikimedia Commons)


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