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Dingell, State Reps & Senator Hear Community Concerns on PFAS

Washington, August 21, 2019

YPSILANTI, MI – Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), State Representative Donna Lasinksi, Yousef Rabhi, Ronnie Peterson, and State Senator Jeff Irwin held a town hall event to discuss PFAS contamination and federal, state, and local efforts to clean up the hazardous substances and set one standard. The elected officials were joined by Brian Steglitz, city of Ann Arbor water treatment plant manager.

A link the photos from the event can be found here. A link to video of the event can be found here.

“We know PFAS poses a risk to our health and environment,” said Dingell. “We need to set a national standard. We need to protect our water, fish and land. And we need to know that our cookware, food containers, dental floss, and other everyday activities are not threatened by this chemical. That is why we must continue to raise awareness and encourage grassroots engagement on this issue.”

“I want to thank Congresswoman Dingell and the other elected officials who hosted the PFAS Town Hall meeting last night,” said Steglitz, City of Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant Manager. “The City of Ann Arbor welcomes the opportunity to engage with our customers and keep them informed about our efforts to address these emerging contaminants. The City looks forward to continuing to work in partnership with the Congresswoman on legislation to hold polluters responsible for the cost of cleaning up the environment and our watershed.”

"My family has been drinking PFAS in our tap water for years. Even now, I still don't know the magnitude of the increased risk that me, my wife, and my children face," said State Sen. Irwin. "And we're not alone. Families in Ann Arbor and all over the state are subjected to these cancerous chemicals by corporate polluters who don't care and state laws that fail to protect our water. As State Senator, I am committed to fix the law and keep the public up-to-date on this evolving water quality crisis."

“We know that current regulations for PFAS do not go far enough to protect Michiganders and our environment. We need to do better for Michigan residents because everyone deserves access to safe, clean drinking water. To address one of the biggest public health crises of our time, we need federal and state leaders to stand up for Michigan families, not corporate polluters worried about their bottom line. That is why I am crafting legislation to regulate the entire class of PFAS chemicals, and, through labeling requirements, ensure consumers can protect themselves and their families,” said State Rep. Rabhi.

“PFAS chemical contamination is a growing concern in Michigan and across the nation,” said State Rep. Peterson. “Especially now, with these dangerous chemicals turning up right in our own backyards, I am pleased to have such powerful allies as Congresswoman Dingell and Governor Whitmer to help lead the charge toward solving this crisis.”

“I raised my kids right next to the Dioxane plume and so the issue clean water hits home for me. Too many families in Washtenaw County are concerned about contaminants in our water, lakes and rivers, just like me. Making sure we hold polluters accountable and our state has the resources to clean up PFAS contamination is the hard work we are doing in Lansing,” said State Rep. Lasinski.

Recent reporting has shown there is an expanding PFAS contamination crisis in Michigan and across the country. PFAS chemicals have been linked to liver disease, thyroid dysfunction, and several forms of cancer. These chemicals have continued to show up in drinking water and communities, especially near military facilities, commercial airports, and manufacturing sites. With over 192 sites contaminated, Michigan has the most contaminated sites in the United States.

In Congress, Dingell is a leader on tackling PFAS contamination and clean up. Earlier this summer, three of Dingell’s provisions to address PFAS contamination were included in the Defense budget for next fiscal year. The provisions would require the Federal government to designate PFAS as a hazardous substance for the purpose of clean up under the EPA’s Superfund Program, facilitate coordinated response between local communities and the military to clean up PFAS chemicals, and ban the use of PFAS in packaging of meals eaten by men and women in uniform.

Dingell has led the introduction of The PFAS Action Act which would simply require the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to list all PFAS chemicals, including PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals, as hazardous substances under the Superfund clean-up program within one year. She also led legislation to ban PFAS in food containers and cookware.

Dingell has long-urged the EPA to set a national MCL for all PFAS compounds so there is one national standard for all water systems to ensure safe drinking water. Currently, states may issue public health warnings when contaminant levels reach 70 ppt (parts per trillion), as set by the EPA, but there are no enforcement mechanisms. Dingell supports setting a maximum contaminant level for all PFAS chemicals to address the severe health effects that have been linked to even low levels of exposure.

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