A Freedom of Information Act request reveals the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality knew six years ago about the harmful effects of PFAS chemicals often found in drinking water.
The DEQ launched a statewide study of PFAS groundwater contamination earlier this year.
The news site MLive first reported this week that a DEQ employee alerted the department to a widespread need for research and education about the dangers of PFAS contamination in 2012.
Richard DeGrandchamp is a toxicologist with the University of Colorado. He was commissioned to work on the DEQ report.
“I was amazed to find out that the levels of PFCs in the general population in blood samples that were collected by CDC had already risen to very alarming levels.”
A couple dozen sites in Michigan have already tested positive for the toxic set of chemicals found in firefighting homes and water-repellant materials.
A spokesperson for the DEQ says the department has acted on all of the recommendations of the 2012 report in recent months. And they say Michigan is leading the nation in PFAS contamination research.
State Representative Winnie Brinks is a Democrat from Grand Rapids. She says she’s frustrated the DEQ has only acted in recently months to study PFAS.
“It’s very discouraging to me that that report was there, that that information was there and our entire department of the DEQ was either instructed to not do anything about it, or buried it intentionally, or possibly just ignored it. Any of those scenarios are really not acceptable.”