County shows higher levels of PFAS in blood than the U.S. population

The DHHS report (Michigan) found age, gender and other factors contributed to differing PFAS blood levels

Kyle Davidson @ Michigan Advance

Angry Bear: Shortly before we left Michigan for other digs. the pollution of water ways due to PFAS was coming more to light where we lived in Livingston County as well as other parts of Michigan. There was an advisory not to eat the fish out of some lakes.

PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a family of chemicals used in firefighting foam, but also in everyday consumer products like pizza boxes, fast food wrappers, shoes, cosmetics, clothing and non-stick cookware such as Teflon. The chemicals are complex, uniquely able to repel water, oil and stains, but not easily broken down in the environment or our bodies.

Some more info . . . At low levels they can cause cancers, thyroid disorders, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, etc. There are an ~ 4000 different PFAS Chemicals. 3M is a large user of PFAS, paid $10.3 billion in penalties, still uses PFAS in manufacturing, and promises to get out of PFAS in 2025(?). Dupont and Corteva paid an addition $1.2 billion. Miniscule for a nation polluted by these chemicals. Michigan has been hit hard by the use of PFAS which it knew in 2012 when Governor Snyder and Repubs ran the state.

“State health study for northern Kent Co. shows higher PFAS blood levels than U.S. population,” Michigan Advance.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) on Wednesday hosted a webinar sharing the findings of its second report on PFAS exposure in northern Kent County. 

PFAS was detected in residential drinking water wells in parts of northern Kent County in 2016, with levels ranging from undetectable to over 50,000 parts per trillion. PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals” are a group of chemicals used to make nonstick cookware, water-repellent clothing, and products that resist grease water and oil. 

These chemicals break down very slowly over time, and have been linked to harmful health effects in humans and animals.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) identified PFAS in private wells located near former waste disposal sites. EGLE later tied these contaminants to Wolverine Worldwide, a shoe manufacturer based in Rockford, which has disposed of waste from its leather tanning and shoe manufacturing operations.

Households were eligible to participate in the exposure study if they had a private drinking water well tested by or by instruction of EGLE, and had detectable levels of PFAS reported to DHHS by EGLE. 

While the first report, released in 2020, summarized the blood PFAS contents of participants, this second report focused on sources of PFAS exposure, looking at the relationship between PFAS concentrations in drinking water and the concentration of PFAS in the participants blood, as well as exposure to PFAS from other sources. 

In total, 183 households were selected to participate, and filtered and unfiltered water samples were taken from each household. 

Toxicologist Joost van’t Erve explained that most of the types of PFAS detected in participants’ blood could be detected in at least some level in the water samples collected.

“While some homes were particularly impacted with high concentrations of PFAS, most of the households in the assessment had much lower levels in unfiltered drinking water samples.”

Filtered samples showed much lower detection frequencies and concentrations of PFAS. Early in the presentation, van’t Erve noted that most people already had filters installed in their homes prior to joining the exposure assessment. 

In summarizing the assessment’s findings on PFAS concentrations in blood and drinking water, van’t Erve said higher concentrations of PFAS in the water was tied to higher concentrations in the blood. van‘t Erve . . .

“It all comes down to really how much was that daily intake that you had? So, it’s the combination of having PFAS in the well and then drinking more of that water that led to the highest amounts of PFAS in the blood.” 

It was also found that older people had higher levels of PFAS in their blood due to exposure at work or just drinking the water.

However, exposure to PFAS varied widely between participants, with researchers concluding that there were other sources contributing to PFAS in blood other than drinking water. 

Here we are again with issues resulting from a lack of caution in the past, a slow reaction when discovered, and company’s resistance to change. It was cited that 3M and Dupont knew of the dangers early-on. Another Hooker Chemical.