The House Committee on Natural Resources met Wednesday, December 5 to hear testimony regarding PFAS concerns during a briefing session that was described by the chair as a “PFAS 101” lesson.
Officials from the Michigan PFAS Response Team, Department of Environmental Quality, and several other agencies met with the House Committee to testify on findings and developments of the PFAS contamination that is affecting numerous regions throughout the state.
The hour-long briefing amounted to a crash course in all things PFAS, as frustrated citizens—who were in attendance hoping to speak and ask questions—were left to watch from a packed overflow room.
Though several committee members objected to the limited scope of the briefing, chair Gary Howell promised there would be future hearings. He would not, however, commit to revisiting the issue the following week or specifying when they would resume.
Residents hoping the committee hearing would include specific legislative action were also left wanting, as Howell indicated that any possible legislation would be pushed to 2019.
“I’m trying to get to basic information so if we do legislation, it’ll be intelligently thought out and scientifically-based,” Howell said.
Citing an “intense number” of pending bills, Howell dismissed the possibility of immediate legislation.
“I’m looking at the beginning of next term and next month,” he said.
In other news, scientists from Stockholm University in Sweden published their investigation into the presence of PFAS in cosmetic products. Lead scientist Lara Schultes and her colleagues examined 31 products from popular brands such as L’Oreal, Gillette, and The Body Shop.
Around 50% of the samples contained measurable amounts of one or more PFAS. Some of the products, particularly foundations and powders, contained up to 25 different types of PFAS chemicals.
“A big challenge in this work was to analyze both the listed and unlisted PFAS ingredients, since the concentrations varied so much,” said Schultes.
The study also questioned the potential risks of PFAS exposure through daily application and prolonged skin contact:
Dermal exposure to PFCAs has, thus far, been considered negligible relative to contributions from dietary intake, drinking water and ingestion of house dust according to current human exposure assessments. However, these exposure assessments have not considered the potential contribution of CPs towards dermal uptake due to the lack of measurement data.
Furthermore, the assessments for other types of consumer products (e.g. PFAS treated textiles and impregnation sprays) may have underestimated the exposure by using the dermal absorption coefficients for the ammonium salt of PFOA without consideration of how ionization status, co-solvents etc. may affect dermal penetration. Thus, the results from this study on PFASs in CPs in combination with more recent dermal permeability studies of PFOA underscore the need to revisit the potential contribution of dermal exposure.”
Schultes and her team plan to study skin absorption of PFAS chemicals in more detail to determine if cosmetics are a significant source of PFAS exposure.