The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has begun a statewide initiative to test drinking water from all schools that use well water and community water supplies. The test is looking for a group of manmade chemicals called per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). MDEQ is taking this precautionary step of testing these drinking water sources to determine if public health actions are needed.
It is not uncommon to find low levels of PFAS in drinking water supplies, as PFAS can be found in fire-fighting foams, stain repellants, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, food wrappers, and many other household products. They do not break down in the environment and move easily into water.
The EPA set a LHA level for two PFAS in drinking water, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The LHA level is 70 parts per trillion (ppt, equal to 70 ng/L) for PFOA and PFOS combined, or individually if only one is present. The EPA has not set health advisory levels for other PFAS compounds. The State of Michigan is using 70 ppt for decision making purposes.
The City of Muskegon was tested by AECOM, MDEQ’s contractor. The test results can be found on the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team website, www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse. The results show that of the PFOA and PFOS tested, 2 ppt were found in the water. The level is below the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) lifetime health advisory (LHA).
The City of Muskegon is committed to providing our customers with quality drinking water. As your water supplier, we are working closely with MDEQ to maintain the quality of your water.
For health related questions, contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) at 1-800-648-6942 or visit one of the websites below.
For information on PFAS including possible health outcomes, visit these websites:
- State of Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) website serving as the main resource for public information on PFAS contamination in Michigan michigan.gov/pfasresponse
- Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ASTDR) website including health information, exposure, and links to additional resources atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas
- United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) website including basic information, U.S. EPA actions, and links to informational resources epa.gov/pfas