It’s a curious acronym — PFAS — and it stands for a family of chemicals that’s in most homes and being detected in an increasing number of people’s water systems in Michigan and other states and provinces. “Forever Chemicals” is what PFAS, PFOA and PFOS are all known as because of how long it takes them to break down in people’s bodies and the environment. These groups of industrial chemicals are used in many non-stick household products, food packages and waterproofed outdoor clothing. And research is only beginning to determine the health effects and what, if any, treatment there might be.
What can people do to protect themselves and their families? How are federal, state and local governments responding? What responsibility does industry have? And what are the financial, medical and social costs?
Great Lakes Now’s coverage has explored these issues and more. Find our work and our partners’ reporting on this page.
The U.S. EPA issued health advisories for PFAS that essentially suggest there is no safe level of PFAS in drinking water.
Catch the latest updates on what’s happening with PFAS in Great Lakes Now’s biweekly headline roundup.
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Wisconsin Republicans will allow regulations Democratic Gov. Tony Evers’ administration developed to control pollution from a group of chemicals known as PFAS to take effect.
While many private wells provide safe water, the absence of regulation and treatment afforded by larger municipal systems may expose some users to health risks, from bacteria and viruses to chemicals and lead.
Waukesha County Circuit Judge Michael Bohren said because of the importance and impact of his ruling, it made sense to keep it on hold while the state Department of Natural Resources appeals.
In the U.S., only California sets a limit of 100 parts per million of total fluorine in food packaging.
Marshfield and Adams have joined the list of Wisconsin cities that have shut down municipal wells due to PFAS contamination.
Since 2019, Great Lakes Now has partnered with MLive Media Group to bring audiences news and information about PFAS and drinking water. The collaboration began with the “Forever Chemicals documentary and these MLive articles about the financial cost to local communities who need to deal with the contaminations. The project was supported by the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting Program at the Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.
Oscoda residents say ‘enough’ after 9 years of PFAS with no cleanup plan
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.
The Forever Chemicals: MLive Reporters and Great Lakes Now engage Sustainable Brands 2019 audience
After a documentary screening at the Sustainable Brands 2019 conference in Detroit, Great Lakes Now hosted an audience discussion with the MLive Media Group reporters who have been leading the coverage of the PFAS issue in Michigan.
PFAS pollution already costing Michigan communities millions
Michigan residents may be in line to pay for the fixes to PFAS contamination for years to come.
Ann Arbor spends $1 million to deal with PFAS contamination
The city started to ask in 2017: “What can we do about it?”
“The Forever Chemicals” documentary was produced by Rob Green and Sandra Svoboda.
Digital Designers: Shelby Jouppi, Mila Murray
Digital Video for “The Forever Chemicals” documentary: Angela Brayman, Marie Gould, Rob Green, Zosette Guir, Matt Ilas, William Kubota, Sandra Svoboda, Jordan Wingrove, Ernie Zinger
With additional production support and partnership from MLive Media Group and the Ravitch Fiscal Reporting program at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York.