July 22nd, 2020
After over a year of development, public comment, and approval, the new PFAS Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) rule, developed by EGLE at the request of Governor Whitmer, is finally going into effect following no action being taken by the legislature to reject the standard. The PFAS MCLs are designed to provide drinking water quality protections against harmful PFAS chemicals that have recently been identified at a number of sites across Michigan. These resilient chemicals are particularly concerning because of their mobility, longevity, and links to serious health effects such as liver damage, cancers, auto-immune diseases, and more.
Unfortunately, these contaminants have made their way into Michigan’s environment and drinking water over the years as a result of standards that were not designed or equipped to safeguard the public from PFAS exposure. Once released into the environment and surface water, PFAS is extremely difficult to remediate. It has shown to be costly and time consuming to fully clean up. For this reason, the best course of action was to prevent this type of contamination in the first place by implementing practical but effective regulatory standards. This new standard will do just that, and we applaud EGLE and the Whitmer Administration for recognizing this need and moving to protect our drinking water and the health of our communities. We are confident these rules will position Michigan as one of several leaders in the growing nationwide effort to tackle PFAS contamination.
In addition to the finalized PFAS MCL standard, Governor Whitmer also signed legislation that would better protect the public from PFAS contamination from the use of firefighting foam. These new laws create a system of accountability to track the use of this foam, bans the use of PFAS foam during firefighting training, and requires proper training for the use, disposal, and personal clean up of PFAS foam. While these are only first steps toward eliminating PFAS contamination, we applaud Governor Whitmer and her administration for these strong, decisive actions that will save lives.