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Michigan congress members call for federal PFAS research and standards during panel discussion

The MDEQ has issued "do not eat" warnings for fish caught in rivers found to have high levels of PFAS.
A group of Michigan members of Congress made the case for addressing PFAS contamination on a nationwide level during a panel discussion Monday.

Members of Michigan’s congressional delegation called for federal limits on PFAS in drinking water during a panel discussion Monday.

PFAS are a family of chemicals known for the long time it takes them to break down. Some kinds have been linked to cancer.

Congressman Dan Kildee (D) says lawmakers become more motivated to act after people find contamination in their district.

“Then they contact their member of congress and suddenly we have a new member of the Congressional PFAS Taskforce as a result. That’s why so much of our effort is to make sure the initial step be one of daylighting the reality that PFAS is everywhere,” Kildee said.

Kildee spoke during the third annual Great Lakes PFAS Summit. He was there alongside Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D) and Congressman Peter Meijer (R).

Dingell directly called on the Environmental Protection Agency to set a nationwide drinking water standard for PFAS contamination.

“And the other thing we really have to do is to educate people about where PFAS is. They’re consuming it in so many different ways and don’t know that it’s in clothing, it’s in those Teflon pans, it’s in those storage containers, it’s in our makeup,” Dingell said.

The three emphasized that though Michigan has attracted attention because of its PFAS testing and standards, this is a nationwide issue.

Meijer said Michigan’s response to PFAS contamination can help other states in the absence of federal guidance.

“The EPA is never going to move as fast as we would like to and they may never be as precise as we want them to be. But knowing that there is a cohort of other members of congress who have dealt with this, again, I think is important for each member to understand,” Meijer said.

He echoed calls for more federal research.