Public meeting to discuss PFAS concerns in Norton Shores will be held this Tuesday, Feb. 19

Photo by Christopher Irwin

Residents concerned about toxic chemicals in their drinking water are invited to attend a public meeting this Tuesday, Feb. 19 from 6pm to 8:30pm at Western Michigan Christian High School in Norton Shores.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health – Muskegon County, and the Muskegon County Airport are organizing the meeting to update area residents on the status of the investigation into perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, at properties near the airport. Updates regarding PFAS detection and response efforts will be provided.

In January, county health officials announced 20 homes near the airport tested positive for PFAS chemicals. And in September, high levels of PFAS too were found in water wells near the airport. The results prompted officials to deliver bottled water to homes with high levels of PFAS, as well as to install water filters at a couple of the locations.

Often referred to as “forever chemicals,” PFAS have, since the 1940s, been used in various industries across the country. For example, PFAS have been used in firefighting foam at airports, Teflon nonstick products, stains and water repellents, paints, cleaning products, and food packaging.

Studies have shown PFAS are linked to certain cancers, increased cholesterol, and reduced fertility, among other health problems, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s toxicology agency.

The meeting on Feb. 19 will be structured as follows:

6pm-6:55pm Open House: Public and affected residents can meet person-to-person with officials from MDEQ, MDHHS, PHMC and Muskegon County to ask questions specific to their concerns.

7pm-7:55pm Public Presentation/Panel: Various agencies will outline the nature of PFAS, health effects, PFAS detections/responses to date, and next steps.

8pm-8:30pm Q & A: Officials will take questions from meeting attendees.

For further information about the meeting, please click here.

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