Dems slam GOP ‘inaction’ on PFAS

LANSING (AP) — Democratic lawmakers on Tuesday accused majority Republicans of “inaction” on the contamination of tap water with old industrial chemicals, demanding that hearings be held to strengthen Michigan’s standard and to study why an internal state report that warned of dangers was ignored.

The renewed calls came a day before the GOP-led Legislature was to return to session after a summer break during which residents in the city of Parchment and Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County were told not to drink their municipal water for a month due to high levels of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The industrial compounds — which were used in products like firefighting foam and carpets — also have been found in at least 34 other sites in 19 communities .

Rep. Winnie Brinks, a Grand Rapids Democrat, said at a Capitol news conference that the state does not have an enforceable PFAS limit established in law, and the combined standard of 70 parts per trillion — set by Gov. Rick Snyder’s administration in January and which mirrors a federal advisory level set in 2016 — should be 5 parts per trillion.

“This cap would be the lowest in the country and would ensure that the water coming out of Michiganders’ taps is worth of being called pure,” said Brinks, who introduced legislation in December to lower the PFAS standard. “Access to clean, safe drinking water is a fundamental right.”