Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer bans state government from purchasing products containing PFAS

By: - October 29, 2021 12:05 pm

Susan J. Demas

With an executive directive issued Wednesday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan became the first state in the country to limit procurement on PFAS-containing products by state agencies.

Effective immediately, Executive Directive 2021-08 prohibits the state of Michigan from purchasing products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) unless no alternative is available.

“PFAS are dangerous, man-made chemicals that pose a threat to our health,” Whitmer said in a statement Wednesday. “… While this is a good step, we still have so much more to do to address these forever chemicals. We need to lead with science and work together to keep families safe and ensure Michigan continues leading the nation when it comes to protecting people from toxic contaminants.”

The executive directive tells the state to use its purchasing power, about $2.5 billion annually, to avoid PFAS when buying products. Other states have product-specific PFAS restrictions, but Michigan’s is the broadest so far by limiting all purchases by the state.

Whitmer’s action was commended widely by environmental and health groups, including the Ecology Center, the Safer States coalition, Great Lakes PFAS Action Network and Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), some of which noted that they hope it will set a precedent for other states to follow suit.

State Sen. Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor) and state Rep. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids) also released statements praising the move.

“The Governor’s action makes clear that forever chemicals have no place in our bodies, our environment or our workplaces,” said Tony Spaniola, co-chair of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network.

“We urge businesses across Michigan to follow Governor Whitmer’s lead and remove PFAS from the products they sell, not just to state agencies, but to all Michiganders.  And, we look forward to working with both sides in the Legislature to more broadly limit the sale of products containing PFAS.”

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Laina G. Stebbins
Laina G. Stebbins

Laina G. Stebbins is a former Michigan Advance reporter. A lifelong Michigander, she is a graduate of Michigan State University’s School of Journalism, where she served as Founding Editor of The Tab Michigan State and as a reporter for the Capital News Service.