Michigan Advances Stronger Standards on “Forever Chemicals” in Drinking Water

LANSING, MI ­– Michigan’s proposed standards to reduce “forever chemicals” contaminating drinking water for millions of people across the state were advanced today in a vote by the Environmental Rules Review Committee (ERRC). The standards now head to the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules for consideration.

“People power in support of safe drinking water for everyone is changing things for the better in Michigan. Thousands of people urged the state to adopt stronger health-protective standards for PFAS chemicals, creating momentum for Michigan to lead the nation. While Michigan could have gone further to protect public health based on the science, we need swift action to get these new rules finalized so that we can begin to lower people’s exposure to these harmful chemicals as quickly as possible,” said Cyndi Roper, an advocate with the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

In January, more than 7,000 Michiganders participated in a month-long public comment period about the proposed drinking water standards on PFAS chemicals, which are found in the drinking water of nearly 2 million people across the state. PFAS chemicals are toxic at very low doses and earned the moniker of “forever chemicals” due to being highly persistent in the environment and their ability to accumulate in the bodies of people and food that we eat.

A NRDC scientific report released last year recommended Michigan set a treatment standard to provide the most protection from the PFAS class of chemicals possible, and as  a stop-gap, immediately set a combined maximum contaminant level (MCL) for five PFAS chemicals between 2 and 5 parts per trillion (ppt), levels that would be among the most health-protective standards in the nation.

Current federal advisory (non-enforceable) levels are 70 ppt for just two PFAS chemicals, PFOA and PFOS. Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed to develop new drinking water standards for those two PFAS chemicals, though there are over 7,000 PFAS chemicals in the class.

Additional Resources:
Michigan Should Set Precedent-Setting PFAS Water Standards
EPA Yet Again Fails to Set Health-Protective Levels for PFAS
Michigan Proposes Strong, Yet Incomplete PFAS Protections
NRDC: Protect People from Toxic PFAS Chemicals


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

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