Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay Hosts P-FAS Forum in Traverse City

P-FAS contaminations are a growing concern for many.

Michigan has the most discovered P-FAS contamination sites in the country, according to a new study. The toxic compound has been found in 192 sites across the state and has infiltrated drinking water in many parts, including Blair Township and Grayling.

Researchers disagree about how much P-FAS is safe to consume. The Environmental Protection Agency says levels in drinking water are safe under 70 parts per trillion and Governor Whitmer is asking the state to define its own levels by this summer.

Thursday night, the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay invited the director of the Michigan P-FAS Action Response Team, or MPART, to speak at a forum with health and environmental experts. The purpose was to educate the public about the emerging pollutant and answer their questions.

“We’re looking at hundreds [of sites] to make sure that we have identified where there’s been a release and most importantly, if we’ve identified a release, making sure that we’re protecting the public and their drinking water supply,” said Steve Sliver, MPART’s executive director.

MPART is the country’s first P-FAS task force and leader in P-FAS research. They monitor drinking water, groundwater, wastewater and ecosystems for P-FAS. Michigan’s high number of P-FAS contamination sites reflects their comprehensive effort in testing and looking for the toxic compound.

P-FAS is a class of toxic compound used in things like adhesives and firefighting foams. It’s been linked to things like cancer, high cholesterol, decreased fertility in women and thyroid disease.

P-FAS firefighting foams are still used by departments across the state. Part of MPART’s effort is working to safely dispose of 37,000 gallons of P-FAS still on the shelves of some fire departments.

Sliver’s team wants to get ahead of the curve of what could be a bigger issue across the country.