PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl, is a group of widely man-made chemicals that do not degrade in the environment or the human body, and have been classified as a major pollutant in water sources across the country.

Keeping abreast of developments related to PFAS in the Great Lakes region.

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Michigan

The defense spending bill includes a mandate to work on contaminated sites. However, in Michigan and most other states, the Department of Defense has done little to address PFAS problems despite the millions of dollars that have been saved for cleanup work in recent defense authorizations and appropriations bills.

A fire has broken out in an industrial complex on the Upper Peninsula for two weeks despite a “violent attack” by firefighters across the region against the flames. As firefighting teams from across Michigan and Wisconsin continue to battle the blaze, environmental officials are monitoring PFAS vehicles in the area’s drinking water, which has risen since the fire broke out Oct. 6 although state environmental officials say they are still within safe limits.

New York

Screening for conditions and diseases associated with exposure to PFOA is set to begin soon for residents of Hoosick, Petersburgh, New York and Bennington, Vermont. All programs will be based at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. Surveillance will focus on diseases and conditions associated with exposure to PFOA, which include kidney and testicular cancer; Liver function disorders. thyroid disease; ulcerative colitis; and conditions of high cholesterol.

Pennsylvania

Beneficial reuse of treated wastewater provides an opportunity for the soil to act as an additional filter for PFAS, reducing the direct effect of direct PFAS discharge into surface waters. However, due to the difficulty of degrading the chemical structures of PFAS, the potential risks and trade-offs of using treated wastewater for irrigation practices, especially in the long term, are not well understood.

Wisconsin

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources is launching a new requirement to track cancer-causing chemicals forever across the state. Cities with over 50,000 residents will be required to test their waters for PFAS starting November 1.

National

In the absence of enforceable federal drinking water standards for PFAS, nine states have interfered with the regulation of these toxic compounds in drinking water.

Soft, foamy, waterproof. These properties are highly desirable in beauty products, but manufacturers sometimes use fluorine-containing ingredients to achieve them. Now, researchers show in the ACS Environmental Science and Technology Report that some cosmetics and personal care products labeled as containing fluorinated ingredients also contain PFAS, whether or not those chemicals are forever listed as ingredients.

The nonprofit Environmental Health Monitoring Center has begun legal action against Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) Post-test showed that waterproof rain jackets for children and adults can expose individuals to PFOA and PFOS.

To see if nonstick frying pans that claim to be PFOA are really PFOA-free, and if consumers can rely on other PFAS claims, Consumer Reports tested Swiss Diamond, Always, and Red Copper nonstick frypans to see if they Truly free of PFAS chemicals.

Nearly all of the participants in a new study looking at exposure to PFAS in North Carolina had several dangerous compounds in their blood, most of them at levels that researchers say require medical screening.

The crocodile is a species that dates back more than 150 million years and witnessed the extinction of the dinosaurs. However, a new study indicates that these apex predators are under threat from PFAS.

A new report says that five popular tampon brands — including two that are advertised as organic — contain detectable levels of fluorine, an indicator of PFAS. Twenty-three tampon products have been tested by a US Environmental Protection Agency-certified laboratory and have found levels of fluorine ranging from 19 parts per million or parts per million to 28 parts per million in five of the brands.


Find out more news at Great Lakes now:

PFAS news report: Petition says EPA loophole allows ‘forever chemicals’ to evade review

PFAS News Brief Report: High levels of ‘forever chemicals’ found in pesticides, artificial turf

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