Michigan Can’t Wait for EPA to Take Action on PFAS Contamination

State should “step into vacuum” created by EPA’s inability to do its job

LANSING, MI – State leaders should not wait for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to take action to protect Michigan’s drinking water sources from PFAS contamination, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). EPA officials plan to meet with state and local leaders in Kalamazoo, Michigan today about PFAS contamination in the Great Lakes State.

“Given that the Trump EPA is all about protecting industrial polluters over people, we’re just wasting our time waiting for the EPA to take any forceful action on PFAS. We simply cannot trust the EPA to do its job. Instead, Michigan lawmakers and the Governor must find a solution to ensure Michigan’s drinking water is safe,” said Cyndi Roper, NRDC’s Michigan Senior Policy Advocate.

Erik Olson, NRDC’s Senior Director for Health and Food, testified before Congress last month about the EPA’s abject failure to tackle the serious and widespread PFAS contamination problem nationwide. Olson identified the following ways EPA has fallen down on the job:

  • Failure to meaningfully regulate PFAS manufacture and use;
  • Failure to issue standards to protect drinking water;
  • Failure to prevent PFAS contamination; and,
  • Failure to ensure contaminated sites are cleaned up.

Olson called upon states to “immediately step into the vacuum” left by EPA’s inaction, in order to protect public health and the environment.

PFAS are a dangerous class of toxic chemicals found in everything from drinking water, food packaging, clothing, carpets, cosmetics, firefighting foam and more. PFAS are now found in the bodies of more than 98% of Americans – including probably every person in Michigan. Even at low levels, PFAS have been linked to a range of serious illnesses, including cancer of the kidneys and testicles, thyroid and liver disease, lower fertility in women, developmental harm, higher cholesterol and weakened immune systems.

Mr. Olson’s written testimony is available here.


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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