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Michigan scrambles to address chemical contaminants in water


At least 1,000 homes with private wells in the Plainfield Township area ... The chemicals have been identified at 28 sites in 14 Michigan communities. Nearly half are on or near military installations, where the source is believed to be firefighting ...


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FILE- In this Wednesday, Aug16, 2017 file photo, a "No trespassing" sign is displayed at an old tannery waste dump used by Wolverine World Wide in Belmont, MichSome private wells in the area have tested positive for elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances called PFAS, also called perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCsMichigan, where the large city of Flint continues to recover from a lead-tainted water supply, is now racing to combat a new threat to tap water at sites across the state: chemicals long used in firefighting, waterproofing, carpeting and other products The Grand Rapids Press via AP Neil Blake FILE- In this Wednesday, Aug16, 2017 file photo, a "No trespassing" sign is displayed at an old tannery waste dump used by Wolverine World Wide in Belmont, MichSome private wells in the area have tested positive for elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances called PFAS, also called perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCsMichigan, where the large city of Flint continues to recover from a lead-tainted water supply, is now racing to combat a new threat to tap water at sites across the state: chemicals long used in firefighting, waterproofing, carpeting and other products The Grand Rapids Press via AP Neil Blake setLeadImageSize(); $(window).resize(function() { var clientWidth = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientWidth, window.innerWidth || 0); if (clientWidth > 767) { $('.lead-item').find('.caption').hide(); $('.lead-item .lead-caption').show(); } else { $('.lead-item .lead-caption').hide(); } setLeadImageSize(); }); $('.lead-item img').click(function(){ var elemWidth = Math.max(document.documentElement.clientWidth, window.innerWidth || 0); if(elemWidth = scrollEndPos || windowCurrentPos The contaminants, classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as "emerging" nationally, have sparked enough concern that GovRick Snyder created a state response team and approved $23 million in emergency spending. The chemicals do not break down easily and can migrate from soil to groundwaterThey were used in scores of U.Sindustrial applications and have been detected in human and animal blood around the globeThe Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry says scientists are uncertain about how they affect human health at exposure levels typically found in food and waterBut some studies suggest the chemicals might affect fetal development, disrupt hormonal functions, damage fertility and immune systems, and boost the risk of cancer. At least 1,000 homes with private wells in the Plainfield Township area north of Grand Rapids — near where Wolverine dumped hazardous waste decades ago — have been tested for PFAS contamination in recent months. (function() { var randomUrl = getRandomUrl('http://x.email.bnd.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=91,http://x.email.bnd.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=95,http://x.email.bnd.com/ats/url.aspx?cr=663&wu=86'); var eventMethod = window.addEventListener ? 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SUBSCRIBE NOW Cody Angell, 28, who lives in the area, said he has had "sleepless nights," even though his home is on the local water system that has been deemed safeHe's concerned because the chemicals have been discovered in the municipal supply, and Plainfield Township for years pulled water from backup wells that have tested positive for the substancesHe wonders if PFAS contamination caused his mother's thyroid disease. Angell said he lacks confidence in state regulators, pointing to their failures that led to Flint's crisisEnvironmental activist and legal consultant Erin Brockovich recently met with area residents, urging them to join a class-action lawsuit that alleges Wolverine illegally disposed of PFAS from Minnesota-based 3M's Scotchgard product in the areaThe suit seeks financial damages and steps such as targeted, more frequent medical testing. Another lawsuit alleges that a family of four living near Wolverine's unlined tannery waste dump drank highly contaminated well water for 17 years, causing the father to develop colon cancer, the mother to have a miscarriage and one of their children to develop a rare bone cancer. The chemicals have been identified at 28 sites in 14 Michigan communitiesNearly half are on or near military installations, where the source is believed to be firefighting foam. The $23 million will be used to hire new state employees to sample and analyze well water, buy lab equipment and help public health departments with unexpected response costsSamples have been sent to California because no Michigan labs can test for the chemicals; state officials want quicker results. "People are starting to get an understanding of a whole class of chemicals that ..are in so many thingsHow much of that is getting into our systems? I don't think people really know," said state RepChris Afendoulis, a Republican whose district includes the Wolverine dump areaHe warned it could become "a nationwide problem." Of about 1,050 homes tested in neighborhoods north of Grand Rapids, 74 had PFAS levels above 70 parts per trillion — the U.Sgovernment's combined health advisory level for two PFAS in drinking water, set in 2016Some houses had concentrations measuring hundreds of times higher than the lifetime advisory levelResults are not back yet for every homeWolverine has provided affected residents with bottled water and whole-house filters and, at the state's request, is investigating 20 reports of discarded barrels or leather scraps at five sites. For now, the Snyder administration and majority Republicans in the Legislature are comfortable with the 70 parts per trillion standard — a non-enforceable and unregulated limit unlike the federal restrictions on other contaminants such as lead, asbestos and mercury. "It is largely used for trying to communicate to the public the point at which if you're below that, we don't have public health concernWhen you get above that, then that is when we start to say there are some people who may be at risk of harm from a lifetime of drinking levels above 70," said Kory Groetsch, environmental health director at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services"I like to think of it as a speed limitIf you're doing 58 in a 55, your chance of anything bad is very smallIf you're doing 95 in a 55, your chance of something going wrong is quite high." Michigan Democrats are proposing legislation to establish a 5 parts per trillion limit, which would be the country's toughest and follow states such as New Jersey, Minnesota and Vermont that have imposed stricter guidelinesThey also are calling for legislative oversight hearings to investigate whether Wolverine and the state moved too slowly to protect peopleOn its website, Wolverine calls the federal advisory level "very conservative" and says there is no human study proving PFAS exposure causes illness. Still, the EPA recently announced a "cross-agency effort" to address PFAS contamination nationwide, saying it will identify near-term actions to help communities, enhance coordination, boost research and expand communication about health risksSnyder, a Republican, said the state is building a "good working relationship" with the EPA, but — echoing criticism from both sides of the aisle in Congress — said he wants a "better response" from the Defense Department. The former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in northern Michigan has been on officials' radar for some timeWhile PFAS levels in samples from private residential wells nearby were not higher than the federal advisory level, the state urged people to not use their water for drinking or cooking because of uncertainty about the duration or amount of previous exposure and other concerns. "We're at this point in dialogue with different branches of military, and it'd be good if we could get the Department of Defense to figure out the best way to respond and partner with us on helping address this issue," Snyder said. ___ Follow David Eggert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/David%20Eggert FILE- In this Monday, Aug14, 2017 file photo, a couple kayak on the Rogue River adjacent to where Wolverine World Wide's tannery once stood, in Rockford, MichThe Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the connection between old waste drums in the area and an old Wolverine World Wide tannery waste dump nearbySome private wells in the area have tested positive for elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances called PFAS, also called perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCsThe DEQ says Wolverine dumped sludge containing the chemicals in unlined trenches back in the 1960sThe well contamination was discovered this year The Grand Rapids Press via AP Neil Blake FILE- In this Monday, Aug14, 2017 file photo, Rum Creek, a Rogue River tributary, flows through the former Wolverine World Wide tannery property in Rockford, MichThe Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the connection between old waste drums in the area and an old Wolverine World Wide tannery waste dump nearbyMichigan, where the large city of Flint continues to recover from a lead-tainted water supply, is now racing to combat a new threat to tap water at sites across the state: chemicals long used in firefighting, waterproofing, carpeting and other products The Grand Rapids Press via AP Neil Blake 1 of 2 lazyLoadingModule("inlinegallery-template-192286719", "inlinegallery-target-192286719", "gallery",500, undefined, undefined, undefined, "undefined", 192286719 , 2 ); !function(){var TOUT=window.TOUT=window.TOUT||{},utils={getCanonicalLinkHref:function(){for(var links=document.getElementsByTagName("link"),i=0;i-1}}}(); !function(){var TOUT=window.TOUT=window.TOUT||{};if(console&&console.log&&console.log("Tout SDK: "+ +new Date),!TOUT._sdkScriptTagParsedAt){TOUT._sdkScriptTagParsedAt=new Date,TOUT.EMBED_CODE_VERSION="1.2.0";var sdkHost=TOUT.SDK_HOST||"platform.tout.com",sdkProtocol=TOUT.SDK_PROTOCOL||("https:"==window.location.protocol?"https:":"http:"),analyticsHost=TOUT.SDK_ANALYTICS_HOST||"analytics.tout.com",analyticsProtocol=TOUT.SDK_ANALYTICS_PROTOCOL||sdkProtocol;TOUT.onReady=TOUT.onReady||function(func){return TOUT._onReadyQueue=TOUT._onReadyQueue||[],TOUT._onReadyQueue.push(func),TOUT},TOUT.fireSimpleAnalyticsPixel=function(trigger_name,attrs){var img=new Image,url=analyticsProtocol+"//"+analyticsHost+"/events?trigger="+trigger_name;for(var attr in attrs)attrs.hasOwnProperty(attr)&&(url+="&"+attr+"="+encodeURIComponent(attrs[attr]));return img.src=url,img},TOUT.init=function(brandUid,options){options=options||{};var sdkScriptId="tout-js-sdk";if(document.getElementById(sdkScriptId)&&!options.forceInit)return TOUT;if(brandUid=TOUT.SDK_BRAND_UID||brandUid,"undefined"==typeof brandUid||"string"!=typeof brandUid||0===brandUid.length||brandUid.length>7)return TOUT.fireSimpleAnalyticsPixel("sdk_log",{log_level:"error",log_message:"BRAND_UID_NOT_DEFINED",content_page_url:window.location.href}),console&&console.error&&console.error("TOUT - Invalid Brand UID: "+brandUid),TOUT;TOUT._initOptions=options;var script=document.createElement("script");script.type="text/javascript",script.src=sdkProtocol+"//"+sdkHost+"/sdk/v1/"+brandUid+".js",script.id=sdkScriptId,script.className="tout-sdk";var firstScript=document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0];return firstScript.parentNode.insertBefore(script,firstScript),TOUT.fireSimpleAnalyticsPixel("sdk_initialized",{content_brand_uid:brandUid,sdk_embed_code_version:TOUT.EMBED_CODE_VERSION,content_page_url:window.location.href}),TOUT}}}(); (function(){ var brandUid = "b6afb9"; TOUT.mapAsyncFetchApp.init(brandUid); TOUT.init(brandUid); TOUT.mapAsyncFetchApp.fetch(); })(); ! function() { var tagalongWidth = 325; if (window.innerWidth 320 && window.innerWidth 768 && window.innerWidth 325) { tagalongWidth = 325 } document.body.addEventListener('ToutSDKLoad', function(evt) { //wait for SDK to load TOUT.model.setMixinSettings('TagAlong', { //change width of tagalong unit before player is created popoutWidth: tagalongWidth }) }) }(); Suggested for you lazyLoadingModule("zerg-template", "zerg-target", "zerg",500, undefined, undefined, undefined, "53328", undefined , undefined );   Comments   Needs to be visible to set the correct height of the comment componentI'm hiding it on document readyAppending it later did not work--> (function(){ var $commentingContainer = $('#commenting-container'), $commentContainerChevron = $commentingContainer.find(".glyphicon-chevron-down"),

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