In the United States, the State of Michigan is no stranger to contaminated drinking water. While for years the city of Flint, Michigan has suffered from dangerous contamination levels in their public drinking water. Now another city in Michigan is suffering with contaminated water supplies. The area of Parchment and Cooper Township, near Kalamazoo were found to have dangerous levels of a harmful commonly used nonstick material. Lt. Governor Brian Calley of the Republican Party declared the state of emergency on Sunday July 29, 2018 after officials discovered per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the local water supply. By declaring a state of emergency, it allows the State of Michigan to divert additional resources to aid in all response efforts to protect the safety and health of the community.
Lt. Governor Calley has taken charge of the emergency in the absence of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. Some of the resources being allocated are water delivery and any health assistance needed in the wake of the contamination. During this time Michigan officials will continue to work on switching to another water supply source.
According to MLive, test results released last week showed a contamination level of PFAS equaling 1,587 parts per trillion in Parchment Township’s water. The United States Environmental Protection Agency currently has a standard of 70 parts per trillion. While 70 parts per trillion was deemed acceptable, The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has reported finding the evidence of health problems even at single digit levels.
PFAS over history have had links to serious health issues such as liver damage and forms of cancer. PFAS has been used commercially for years to manufacture stain resistant materials, nonstick products, and even some fire-retardant products.