- PFAS are toxic, synthetic chemicals associated with many health problems.
- PFAS have been found in the Huron River and many watersheds across the country.
- PFAS are used in many common household products. PFAS pollution is widespread.
- PFAS pollution in drinking water is not regulated by federal law. The State of Michigan is currently in the process of establishing drinking water standards, and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy established a cleanup criteria for groundwater used as drinking water in 2018.
- All public drinking water in the Huron River watershed has tested within EPA health advisory levels.
- Private wells have not been tested in most cases. Concerned residents on private wells should contact their county health departments.
- Fish from the Huron River should and directly connected lakes or creeks should not be eaten. MDHSS issued a “Do Not Eat Fish” advisory that applies to most of the Huron River.
- There is no evidence that swimming in water contaminated with PFAS is a health risk, but repeated ingestion of PFAS following skin contact is a concern.
- Avoid contact with river foam. PFAS concentrates at higher levels in foam. If you do make contact with foam, rinse off with non-foamy river water and wash up when you get home.
Do Not Eat the Fish
Until further notice, do not eat fish from the Huron River.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has issued a “Do Not Eat Fish” advisory for most of the Huron River from the crossing at North Wixom Road in Milford all the way to Lake Erie. The advisory did not specifically apply to tributaries along the Huron River, but HRWC is also advising that fish should not be eaten from connected lakes and creeks. Read the August 31 MDHHS advisory here.
Community Meeting Slides and Recordings
HRWC has facilitated community discussions on the threat of PFAS to the Huron River in Milford and Washtenaw County. State, county, community officials presented information and answered questions from the audience.
Stay Tuned for Updates
This is a rapidly developing issue for the Huron River watershed. There is still a lot we don’t know but we are learning more as ongoing research brings in new information. We will provide updates here, through emails, blogs, social networking posts, and media interviews. Sign up to get our email updates and news here:
Michigan residents concerned about PFAS in drinking water should contact the Michigan Environmental Assistance Center with questions, 800-662-9278, M-F, 8am-4:30pm.
We Need to Fix the Problem
PFAS contamination of Michigan’s waterways is widespread, and the chemicals have been used for decades in many common household products. We’ll need strong, systemic solutions from the state and federal government.
We need the state to:
- Establish strict drinking water standards to protect human health. The process to do so is moving forward, but polluters are trying to delay the process in the hopes of creating more relaxed protections. The state should follow the best available scientific research to keep Michiganders safe.
- Regulat PFAS chemicals as a class of compounds. There are more than 4,700 individuals PFAS chemicals in use. Regulating specific chemicals will create an endless “whack-a-mole” problem in which toxic PFAS chemicals are used as replacements for regulated toxic PFAS chemicals.
- Make polluters pay to clean up their own mess, not taxpayers or those drinking contaminated water. The polluter pay laws that were in place before the Governor Engler era should be reinstated, and PFAS chemicals should be included in new polluter pay legislation.
- Provide more financial and technical support to our communities. The state should increase funding to research the health impacts of PFAS and methods to remove it from drinking water. State agencies need greater capacity for monitoring water resources and communicating their findings.
The federal government should take the following action:
- The Department of Defense should phase out PFAS use in fire-fighting foam and other applications.
- The EPA should strengthen regulations regarding PFAS, including the use of Toxic Substances Control Act authority and develop PFAS drinking water standards.
- Congress should increase research funding to understand how these chemicals affect human health and ecosystem functions.
- The FDA needs to take more leadership in identifying and addressing PFAS contamination in consumable products or food containers.