Study: Michigan has most PFAS contaminated sites in United States

by Devon Mahieu

According to an interactive map on the Environmental Working Group, the State of Michigan has the largest amounts of PFAS contaminated sites in the United States. (Environmental Working Group)

(WPBN/WGTU) -- As of March 2019, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been found in at least 610 locations in 43 states, that's according to a recent study done by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).

A recent update to an interactive map by the EWG and Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute shows publicly-known pollution from PFAS chemicals nationwide.

These include public water systems, military bases, military and civilian airports, industrial plants, dumps and firefighter training sites.

“The updated map shows that PFAS contamination is truly a nationwide problem, impacting millions of Americans in hundreds of communities,” said Phil Brown, a professor of sociology and health sciences at Northeastern University and director of the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. “Leaders in many communities and states are doing great work to raise awareness about PFAS and push for cleanup, but this is a national crisis demanding national action. The EPA should act more quickly to evaluate all PFAS chemicals and restrict their use, and polluting industries should be held responsible.”

The last time the map was updated, which was in July 2018, there were only 172 contaminated sites in 40 states.

Officials said PFAS chemicals, used in hundreds of consumer products, have been linked to weakened childhood immunity, thyroid disease, cancer and other health problems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PFAS chemicals contaminate the blood of virtually all Americans.

“The Environmental Protection Agency has utterly failed to address PFAS with the seriousness this crisis demands, leaving local communities and states to grapple with a complex problem rooted in the failure of the federal chemical regulatory system,” said Ken Cook, president of EWG, which has studied these compounds for almost two decades. “EPA must move swiftly to set a truly health-protective legal limit for all PFAS chemicals, requiring utilities to clean up contaminated water supplies.”

Recently, the EWG proposed a PFAS standard that would fully protect children's health.

According to the most recent map, the State of Michigan has 192 sites, reflecting a testing program more comprehensive than anywhere else.

While using the map, you can also see contamination at 117 military sites, including 77 military airports.

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