Huron River Contaminated with PFAS Chemical

Dispute on safe levels for drinking water

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a comprehensive review of the health damages caused by a family of chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. The Study, released on June 20th 2018 after being suppressed for six months by the Trump Administration, concludes that PFAS are safe in drinking water at levels of 7 parts per trillion, 10 times lower than the EPA’s maximum safety threshold of 70 parts per trillion. PFAS chemicals were detected at the Ann Arbor Water Treatment Plant on March 5th, 2014, at 43 parts per trillion.

The source of the PFAS contamination in Ann Arbor’s drinking water is the Huron River, and a study is being conducted by the Department of Environmental Quality to identify how PFAS entered the river. PFAS are not readily absorbed through the skin and pose no threat to bathers. Nanofiltration and reverse osmosis are the most effective methods of removing PFASs from drinking water, with systems that can be purchased for home use.