Scientists highlight the need for enforceable PFAS standards

Scientists highlight the need for enforceable PFAS standards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Contact: Katie Parrish, Communications Director, (239) 537-9507 

Scientists highlight the need for enforceable PFAS standards

LANSING – Today the Michigan League of Conservation Voters joined with scientific experts to call on state lawmakers to take action on PFAS and protect public health by enacting a drinking water standard based on leading science. Michigan has no drinking water standard to protect families from exposure to PFAS. Other states have adopted standards as low as 13 and 14 ppt, and a recent federal report suggests standards as low as 7 ppt and 11 ppt. A study by Harvard University suggests a PFAS drinking water standard closer to 1 ppt.

“The existing research on PFOS and PFOA clearly shows that, with time, these chemicals are much more toxic than we originally thought. Our research shows that the EPA’s unenforceable recommendation of 70 parts per trillion is about 100-fold too high to protect us from adverse health impacts,” said Dr. Philippe Grandjean, Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health at Harvard University. “PFAS are not essential chemicals, and we can make do without using them. We must protect communities from the dangers of PFAS exposure by phasing out the use of PFAS chemicals and by establishing a strong drinking water standard that is based on science.”

“PFAS chemicals pose a unique hazard to human and environmental health because of their mobility, potential for bioaccumulation, and resistance to degradation.  In humans, they bind to proteins in our blood, remain in circulation, and are reabsorbed by the kidney,” said Dr. Rick Rediske, Professor at Grand Valley State and the Annis Water Resources Institute. “When it comes to PFAS in Michigan, we are dealing with historical releases involving decades of human exposure over multiple generations and life stages. We clearly need to manage this group of chemicals as hazardous substances, restrict their discharge to the environment, and implement regulations for drinking and surface water that protect both human and environmental health.”

The State is currently using the EPA’s recommended 70 parts per trillion limit to determine whether drinking water is safe for consumption, but the EPA’s recommendation is advisory-only and unenforceable, only covering PFOA and PFOS, just two out of approximately 4,000 PFAS chemicals.

“We know enough about PFAS chemicals to know they are hazardous to our health, but PFAS-contaminated water continues to be delivered to homes across the state. Michigan is using outdated science and has not done enough to mitigate the threat of PFAS exposure once its discovered,” said Dr. Alan Ducatman, Professor Emeritus and author of many peer review papers concerning PFAS. “Michigan should follow the lead of other states who have successfully implemented PFAS standards and, given the scale of the problem in Michigan, the state Legislature should act quickly.”

“We should use precaution with PFAS chemicals and work to minimize Michiganders’ exposure given what’s currently known about the toxicity of PFOA and PFOS, the unknowns regarding many of other forms of PFAS chemicals, and the health risks linked PFAS exposure during pregnancy and early life,” said Dr. Courtney Carignan, Assistant Professor at Michigan State University.


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