PFAS detected above EPA limit at Robinson Elementary

Alexander Sinn • Oct 29, 2018 at 4:16 PM

ROBINSON TWP. — Parents of Robinson Elementary School students were notified Monday that the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has detected high levels of PFAS contaminants above the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency limit.

The EPA’s lifetime health advisory level for two PFAS chemicals in drinking water, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), is a combined 70 parts per trillion (ppt). The combined level detected at Robinson was 110 ppt, with a total PFAS level of 144 ppt, according to the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. 

The health advisory limit considers PFOA and PFOS only, but there are at least 14 know PFAS chemicals. 

The school uses well water, according to WZZM-TV, but the supply has been shut off and bottled water is being distributed through the Ottawa County Sheriff's Office Emergency Management Division and the Department of Health and Human Services.

The school’s staff has been instructed not to ingest water, for drinking or cooking. Bottled water has been dispatched to the school and will be provided while a second sampling effort is ongoing.

Results of the second test are expected Wednesday.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is in the midst of a statewide study of PFAS — a group of chemical compounds linked in human studies to forms of cancer, thyroid disorders, elevated cholesterol and other diseases. Sites with high levels of PFAS have been discovered in communities across the state, and remediation efforts are ongoing.

PFAS chemicals are water and lipid resistant, found throughout the environment and used in common items such as firefighting foam, water-repellent materials, fast-food wrappers and non-stick cookware.

MDEQ did not detect PFAS at the Northwest Ottawa Water System plant in sampling earlier this month, after independent sampling in August found 8 combined ppt of PFOA and PFOS.

The remainder of Grand Haven Area Public Schools buildings are connected to NOWS water.

If you are concerned about exposure, contact the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Toxicology hotline at 800-648-6942.

More information and previous testing results are available at www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse/.

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