Is there a new water crisis in Michigan?
It’s yet another site on a growing list of those around the state contaminated with the chemicals PFAS or PFOA.
The industrial chemicals, known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances or PFASs, have been linked to a variety of adverse health effects, including liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer.
The state declaration of emergency allows for the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts with local and county officials.
‘People should be concerned’
PFAS belongs to a family of chemicals that also include PFOA and GenX. Introduced more than 60 years ago, PFASs are a category of manmade chemicals that degrade very slowly, if at all, in the environment. The chemicals have been used for decades on military bases and in industrial areas in the manufacturing of thousands of consumer items, such as food packaging materials, fabrics, nonstick cooking pans and firefighting foams. While PFOA and PFAS are no longer manufactured in the US, they continue to be found in the environment.
“I think that people should be concerned about the amount of PFOA and PFOS that is in our environment,” Susan M. Pinney, a professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati, wrote in an email. “These are chemicals with long half-lives,” meaning they persist in the environment as well as the body.
“Exposure in utero may have the greatest effect on developing children … and effects may last into adulthood,” she said, adding that the science is still early.
Pinney said there are immediate things that can be done, including “granular activated charcoal filtration systems which will remove much (although not all) of the PFOA.” More research and information on the potential health effects of these chemicals, as well as improved detection systems, are needed, she said.
CNN’s Michael Nedelman, Susan Scutti and Kevin Flower contributed to this report.
News credit : Cnn