The recent discovery of PFAS contamination in Rockford isn’t the first case where Michigan residents realized they’d been consuming contaminated water. In fact, in the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo area alone, there are 20+ bodies of water that are known to have PFAS contamination. Contaminated areas sprawl across the entire state of Michigan, from Benton Harbor all the way up to Otter Lake in Houghton County. Most of the Great Lakes contain a measurable amount of PFAS.
There are four different types of PFAS contamination:
1. PFAS Fishing Advisories:
These bodies of water have tested the fish and warn fishers about consuming the fish in these bodies of water as they have tested positive for PFAS. For a full list of PFAS Fishing Advisories click here.
2. Toxic Foam Sites:
PFAS compounds reveal themselves in the form of foam in our rivers and lakes. Since PFAS compounds don’t break down, the biggest concern about this sort of contamination is that it will stay in the environment for up to 25 years.
3. Water and Fish Testing:
Fish in these bodies of water are collected and tested to determine if fish consumption advisory is needed.
4. Identified Contaminated Sites:
These are lakes, rivers, resident wells that have been tested and labeled as a contaminated site.
As we discussed in our first blog on our series, PFAS is more common than you may think. Probably the most recognizable brand name to use this material is Teflon, however, they’re not the only offender. It’s popular in cookware due to it’s resistant to oil, grease, and water. Fast food wrappers, pizza boxes, water-resistant fabrics, and fire-fighting foam also contain PFAS as an ingredient.
While manufacturers have agreed to stop producing two forms of PFAS, they’re a lingering issue because they take a long time to break down once in the environment.
The reasons why PFAS are harmful is still a bit of a mystery since there hasn’t been much research on it. However, PFAS has been linked to health issues like cancer, low birth weight, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and effects on the immune system.
If your water has tested positive for PFAS contamination, stop using that water for drinking, cooking, brushing your teeth, and watering your pets immediately. We strongly advise drinking bottled water until you can get a system with a p473 Certified PFAS filter or a high-quality reverse osmosis system installed in your home.
Wishing you and your family a safe, healthy and happy Spring!