Another Chemical Dumped Into The Water Supply

David Trammel's picture

Something to consider if you live near an airport, or military base.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known collectively as PFAS or PFCs, are contaminating water supplies and the environment across both peninsulas of Michigan. The toxic compounds are found in our rivers, our lakes, our soil, our groundwater, our drinking water, our fish, our food, our bodies and our Great Lakes. They are, as one scientist who helped manufacture them noted, the "most insidious pollutant since PCBs."

"They call them 'zombie chemicals,'" said Cathy Wusterbarth, a former lifeguard on a contaminated lake who wonders if past bouts with breast cancer and rheumatoid arthritis are linked to the PFAS that's been spreading through the local groundwater for decades. "You don't see them. You don't smell them. They just slowly affect you," Wusterbarth said.

To date, more than 30 sites in 15 communities across Michigan have confirmed PFAS contamination in the soil, groundwater or surface water. Uncertainty shrouds the sites as residents worry about their health and property, and question whether their government is doing enough to protect them.


I wonder why we don't just spontaneously explode sometimes, with all the stuff we just dump into the environment.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Earlier this year there was an oil spill on the Missouri River. I heard some towns that draw their water from the river had to shut down water intake. Because the Missouri feeds into the Mississippi just above my city's water intake, I mentally prepared myself to turn to our small store of water in the basement.

But I could not after that find info on what became of the spill. How much was retained or coated the river banks? How much made its way into the Mississippi? Did the small towns get their water delivery systems up within a couple days? I do not know the answers.

I'll tell you what, though. My neighbor worked in the lab that continuously tests our water for safety. She purchased bottled water from elsewhere! That did not give me confidence, despite the annual reports that the water department issues listing out lab results. I never asked my neighbor about this before she died.

Your local chapter of the Sierra Club could find that info for you--or find the people who can find the info.