EVART — PFAS have been found in the City of Evart's treated drinking water, according to data from the State of Michigan.
Eight samples were drawn in Evart on Sept. 10.
There are two major perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They are PFOA and PFOS (perfluorooctanoic acid and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, respectively).
PFOA and PFOS were found in one sample, while other PFAS were found in three samples.
It was not immediately clear, based on state records, where in the city the samples were taken, though seven of the samples were from treated drinking water and one was from raw water.
The PFOA and PFOS samples fall well below the federal action level of 70 parts per trillion. The safety of that level is disputed by Freshwater Future, a non-profit that describes itself as a "watershed-wide organization dedicated solely to supporting the needs of community-based groups and actions working to protect and restore Great Lakes land and water resources."
The EPA has not set a health advisory level for other PFAS chemicals.
The highest sample of PFAS chemicals, at 20 parts per trillion, is the equivalent of one drop of water in an Olympic-sized swimming pool (the state says one part per trillion (ppt) is the equivalent of one drop in 20 pools). Another sample had 4 ppt while a third had 2 ppt of PFAS.
But just one sample had PFOA and PFOS, the PFAS chemicals for which the government has set a lifetime health advisory that covers children, the elderly and sick adults.
The state combines PFOA and PFOS numbers.
There was no PFOA + PFOS detected in most of the Evart water samples, though there was one sample that had 2 ppt. That was the same sample that had 2 ppt of PFAS.
All of the testing that showed the presence of some PFOA, PFOS or PFAS came from treated drinking water. The chemicals were not detected in the sole raw water sample.
While the Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Michigan list 70 ppt as the safe threshold across all ages for PFOA and PFOS combined (and has not set a safe level for other PFAS chemicals), Freshwater Future disputes the safety of the chemicals, citing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.
"The Center for Disease Control recently released report finding safe levels of PFAS chemicals to be up to 10-times lower than the EPA’s levels for human health," the organization said in a recent news release.
PFAS chemicals are used in a wide variety of firefighting and manufacturing processes and can be found in waterproof clothing, personal care products, food wrappers and other household goods, according to the state. The chemicals don't break down and build up in your body over time if you consume them. Animal studies show the chemicals are linked to cancer, hormonal and immune system problems, among other health concerns.