Advisory committees formed to assist Michigan PFAS Action Response Team

In response to the emerging contaminant perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in Michigan communities, Gov. Rick Snyder announced the creation of two advisory committees to the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART).

The Scientific Advisory Committee and the Local Public Health Advisory Committee will serve to advise MPART on matters pertaining to the statewide response to PFAS contamination sites in Michigan.

The Scientific Advisory Committee to MPART will be led by Dr. David Savitz of Brown University’s School of Public Health and academic advisor to MPART. It will convene Michigan and national PFAS experts to review available science and make recommendations for Michigan’s statewide response. The committee will coordinate and review medical and environmental health PFAS science and develop evidence-based recommendations. This committee has been charged with completing their review and making recommendations within the next six months.

The announcement of this committee comes as the DEQ announced a new drinking water criterion for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). While this is the first time a level has been set in state criteria, the review to be conducted by the Scientific Advisory Committee of available science may lead to recommended changes in the future. The residential and nonresidential drinking water criterion is 0.07 μg/L (70 parts per trillion) for the combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS, which sets an official state standard and action level for acceptable concentrations of these contaminants in ground water used for drinking water purposes. It is based on the federal advisory level of 70 ppt.

The Local Public Health Advisory Committee to MPART will be led by Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. It will coordinate and exchange information between state and local public health leadership specifically addressing the public health impact of PFAS within Michigan communities. This committee will elevate and address locally identified issues, concerns, and requests for assistance; ensure ongoing two-way communication within communities regarding state and federal agency activities; coordinate data sharing; and identify and jointly develop action plans related to community engagement, testing, remediation, and more, for PFAS contamination sites.

Gov. Snyder will name those appointed to the advisory committees within the coming weeks.