3M lawsuit against Michigan’s PFAS drinking water standards an affront to public health
LANSING – A leading activist in west Michigan and the Michigan League of Conservation Voters today issued the following statement after MLive reported that 3M has filed a lawsuit against the state of Michigan seeking to invalidate Michigan’s drinking water limits for PFAS contamination, which were set in place in 2020 after extensive review and public input.
“Our community on House Street had some of the highest levels of PFAS in our drinking water in the state, so we were relieved when Michigan finally passed protections for these toxic chemicals in our drinking water,” said Sandy Wynn-Stelt, a resident of House Street whose water was contaminated with PFAS. “3M’s attempt to dismantle these standards now, when we are making real progress on identifying toxic PFAS contamination and protecting our drinking water, is deplorable. PFAS contamination is impacting people’s lives across the state, and the drinking water standards set in place last year are a critical step to protecting others from being poisoned.”
Sites contaminated with PFAS have been found in communities across Michigan. One of which is the House Street neighborhood in Belmont, Michigan that has grappled with PFAS contamination stemming from a shoe tannery owned by Wolverine World Wide that dumped PFAS chemicals in the 1950s.
“3M’s challenge to these standards is an affront to public health and an attack on communities impacted by PFAS who just want safe water to drink for them and their families,” said Lisa Wozniak, executive director of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “In 2020, after overwhelming public input from experts, health professionals and communities impacted by PFAS, Michigan passed strong, protective drinking water limits for toxic PFAS chemicals. Governor Whitmer listened to the people of Michigan and proactively moved to put the health of Michigan communities first.”
The rulemaking process for setting the PFAS limits started in late 2019 and spanned throughout 2020. They underwent a public input period and public hearings during which thousands of Michigan residents, independent experts and health professionals weighed in to ensure the standards were achievable and protective of public health. The rules formally went into effect in July 2020.