By: - September 25, 2019 1:59 pm

Susan J. Demas

The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is providing the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services $1 million to host a study on the exposure of the per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in West Michigan drinking water.

The federal government on Monday announced that Michigan is one of seven states chosen for the study to evaluate a number of health risks posed by PFAS, such as lipid metabolism, kidney function, thyroid disease, liver disease, glycemic parameters, diabetes and immune response. 

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According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), the study will also collect information about cancer, but will not be large enough to evaluate the relationship between PFAS exposure and cancer. 

“This funding from the CDC will help expand the knowledge and understanding of the effects that PFAS has on our health – an important step as we continue our efforts to study the total impact PFAS has on our communities,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph) said in a press release Wednesday. “The bottom line is we all want our communities, our homes, and our families to have access to safe, clean drinking water.”

The study will enroll about 6,000 adults and 2,000 children nationwide. The research at each of the seven sites will investigate the health outcomes among the test subjects who are most-at risk to PFAS contaminated drinking water.

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“Communities in West Michigan have been devastated by PFAS contamination, and that’s why I worked to support our state’s effort to secure this federal grant to fully understand the health impacts of PFAS,” said U.S. Sen. Gary Peters (D-Bloomfield Twp.), who wrote a letter to the CDC in April in support of the study. “I will continue working in a bipartisan manner to ensure that this crisis is addressed.”

Michigan has the most sites in the country known to be contaminated with PFAS, according to a report released in May. 

The study will be conducted in Parchment/Cooper Township and North Kent County.

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Allison R. Donahue
Allison R. Donahue

Allison R. Donahue covers education, women's issues and LGBTQ issues. Previously, she was a suburbs reporter at the St. Cloud Times in St. Cloud, Minn., covering local education and government. As a graduate of Grand Valley State University, she has previous experience as a freelance researcher for USA Today and an intern with WOOD TV-8. When she is away from her desk, she spends her time going to concerts, comedy shows or getting lost on hikes in different places around the world.

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