Michigan awarded $1 million to study toxic 'forever chemicals'
Michigan has been selected as one of seven states by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a $1 million grant to conduct a health study of compounds known as toxic "forever chemicals," officials announced Tuesday.
The grant, from the CDC's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, will fund a study to investigate the relationship between drinking water contaminated with PFAS and the health effects.
The state will conduct the project in the city of Parchment, Cooper Township and the North Kent County area, department officials said.
The communities were selected for the study because of uniquely high levels of man-made industrial material, known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, found in their drinking water. Their populations are large enough to meet the requirements of the grant, officials said., PFAS are dubbed "forever chemcials" because they persist so long in the environment.
State officials hope to recruit 1,000 adults and 300 children in the communities to participate in the project.
“Already a national leader in PFAS research, this grant will allow Michigan to contribute directly to a nationwide study of the health effects of PFAS exposure,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health for the state health department. “This study will also allow us to expand a multi-year effort we have underway in Parchment and northern Kent County.”
Officials said planning the project will take an extensive amount of time. They have not established a start date.
Studies of people who were exposed to PFAS found links between the chemicals and increased risk of liver damage, thyroid disease, pre-eclampsia, decreased fertility and small decreases in birth weight, according to the state.
PFAS can build up over time in the blood and organs of wild game, fish and humans who are exposed to the chemicals through food and the water, the health department said.
Last year, more than 120 white-tailed deer from across the state that were sampled tested for PFAS, according to the state health department.
Test results showed high levels of PFOS, a class of PFAS, in one deer from near Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township, resulting in a “Do Not Eat” deer advisory for the area, the health department said.