In 2017, Sandy learned that her water had been contaminated with Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a group of man-made chemicals that have been linked to health problems including cancer, thyroid conditions, auto-immune diseases and reproductive challenges.
After the discovery, Sandy had her blood tested. The results came back finding her blood contained 750 times the national average for PFAS. The source? A contaminated site across the street from her house where Wolverine World Wide dumped its waste from a tannery nearby. The waste site contaminated the water of Sandy’s community, impacting hundreds of people.
She has suffered from health complications, including symptoms linked with exposure to PFAS in health studies, such as thyroid problems and gout as well as cysts and other issues. In 2020, Sandy was diagnosed with Thyroid cancer. Her husband, Joel R. Stelt, passed away at 61 from liver cancer in March 2016.
This experience battling PFAS contamination compelled Sandy, who by trade is a clinical psychologist, to dedicate her time advocating for protections against PFAS and justice for those who have been exposed to these toxic chemicals. She has testified before Congress, urging lawmakers to set a national drinking water standard for PFAS and has shared her story with media and elected officials.
For Sandy, the American Jobs Plan presents a unique opportunity to clean up our water and remediate PFAS contamination that has impacted communities like hers. She believes President Biden’s proposed $10 billion investment in PFAS cleanup is a good start, but we can do better. She’s calling on members of Congress to support the American Jobs Plan and work to expand funding for cleanup of PFAS to ensure communities in Michigan and across the country have safe, clean water to drink.
“Here in Michigan of all places, we should have safe and clean water to drink. It’s time for our leaders to step up and protect our water. We can get to work doing that right now with President Biden’s American Jobs Plan, which will dedicate funds to update our water infrastructure and clean up toxic PFAS chemicals that threaten our health.”