Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of man-made chemicals that includes PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals. PFAS have been manufactured and used in a variety of industries in the United States since the 1940’s, including stain and water repellent fabrics, nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and fire-fighting foams. This has contributed as a major source of groundwater contamination at areas surrounding airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs. While some of West Michigan’s issues arise from this, the majority are linked to industrial contaminants.
Of this group, PFOA and PFOS have been the most extensively produced and studied. These chemicals have recently been given the moniker of ‘Michigan’s next water crisis’, as they are colorless, odorless, tasteless and undetectable without a proper water test.
There is significant evidence that exposure to PFAS can lead to adverse human health effects such as:
- Some Cancers
- Reproductive & Developmental Issues
- Kidney & Liver Issues
- Thyroid Hormone Disruption
- Auto-Immune Disorders/Complications
- Low Infant Birth Weight