Michigan lawmakers seek more EPA help with contaminations

December 7, 2017

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A group of Michigan lawmakers is asking the Environmental Protection Agency to do more to investigate nearly 30 toxic chemical contaminations around the state.

Eight Republicans and six Democrats signed a letter to the EPA on Tuesday asking the agency to help with the state’s response to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl water pollution, the Grand Rapids Press reported .

Such contamination affects 14 communities around the state and has been traced to military and industrial facilities, the lawmakers said. The chemicals can be found in firefighting foams, cleaning products, household cookware and carpets, and some food packaging.

A contamination in northern Kent County has drawn intense scrutiny this fall. A lawsuit filed on behalf of area residents alleges Wolverine World Wide’s old landfill contaminated water with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl. The manufacturer used the chemicals when waterproofing leather for shoes.

The substances “are linked to cancer as well as thyroid, kidney, liver, and reproductive problems,” the letter said.

“We also believe that further engagement by the EPA on this growing problem is consistent with your stated goal of refocusing the agency on actions that directly protect public health and safety,” the lawmakers wrote.

The agency has received the letter and will respond through the proper channels, an EPA spokesman said.

Democrats in the letter were Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, Reps. Dan Kildee, Sander Levin, Brenda Lawrence and Debbie Dingell. Republicans in the letter were Reps. Dave Trott, Jack Bergman, Paul Mitchell, Tim Walberg, Justin Amash, Mike Bishop, Bill Huizenga and Fred Upton.

The state created the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team to oversee the state’s response to the contamination.

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