The water contamination crisis in Kent County has residents concerned for the safety of their groundwater, spurring many to seek independent testing for the presence of PFAS. In addition to testing their wells and other water sources, some have had their blood tested for traces of the chemical. Results of the PFAS blood tests have begun coming back, and some findings have revealed disturbing levels.
On January 9th, WoodTV 8 reported that a PFAS level of 484,000 parts-per-trillion (PPT) was detected in the blood of a 20-month-old child living with his family across from Wolverine Worldwide’s former House Street dump site. This level is almost as high as the levels found in the actual groundwater at Wolverine’s old Rockford tannery.
As gut-wrenching as this news is, it isn’t the highest amount detected in the PFAS blood tests. In the same article, it was reported that another nearby resident’s PFAS blood test results returned a count of 5 million PPT.
Dr. Paul Brooks, one of the doctors who led a blood test study following a similar PFAS crisis in West Virginia, stated that PFAS blood levels over 5,000 PPT remain active in the body, and it cannot be filtered out. “She’ll never get it out of her system for as long as she lives,” Brooks said of the resident who tested at 5 million PPT.
In response to concerns for public safety, the State of Michigan moved forward with a lawsuit against Wolverine Worldwide last week. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an administrative order to Wolverine, insisting that the company perform further assessment and potential cleanup efforts.
Should Residents Seek Independent PFAS Blood Tests?
Currently, Wolverine has not committed to paying for affected residents’ blood testing. This has led some to seek independent testing at their own expense. Many residents have expressed a strong desire to undergo blood testing, if only to have a concrete figure to show the extent of the damage allegedly caused by Wolverine’s chemical dumping. As with any medical decision, consulting with a trusted physician and discussing options based on your specific circumstances is recommended.