Wolverine Worldwide tannery pollution

FILE- In this Aug. 14, 2017 file photo, a couple kayak on the Rogue River adjacent to where Wolverine World Wide’s tannery once stood, in Rockford, Mich. The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is investigating the connection between old waste drums in the area and an old Wolverine World Wide tannery waste dump nearby. Some private wells in the area have tested positive for elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances called PFAS, also called perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs. A government report shows that a family of industrial chemicals turning up in public water supplies around the country threatens human health at concentrations seven to 10 times lower than previously realized. The chemicals are called perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl. (Neil Blake /The Grand Rapids Press via AP) AP -WR


LANSING, MI – State health officials will conduct a five-year study on how PFAS has impacted the health of West Michigan residents who have been exposed to various levels of the toxic “forever chemicals” in their drinking water.

Eligible residents who take part in the study will submit blood samples and answer survey questions three times over the course of the study, which runs from 2020 through 2026, according to a news release issued Monday, Nov. 9 by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The state health department will study residents in the impacted areas of Parchment and Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County and the Belmont and Rockford areas in Kent County.

“Michigan continues to be a leader in PFAS research,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, in a prepared statement.

“The (Michigan PFAS Exposure and Health Study) will provide residents of these communities the opportunity to learn more about PFAS and their levels of exposure and potential health impacts.”

PFAS are a family of thousands of synthetic chemicals used in nonstick and waterproof products and firefighting foam. They have been found at some level in public water serving at least 1.9 million people in Michigan.

Human exposure to the chemicals has been linked in epidemiological studies to some cancers, thyroid disorders, low birth weights, elevated cholesterol and other chronic diseases.

MDHHS will send an enrollment packet to all eligible participants in Parchment, Cooper Township, Belmont and Rockford by Nov. 30, according to the release. State health officials ask anyone who thinks they are eligible for the study to contact the department’s study partner, RTI International, at 855-322-3037.

Throughout the study, participants will be asked to complete a comprehensive survey and provide blood samples on three separate occasions, which will be tested for PFAS and health markers like thyroid hormones and cholesterol, state health officials said.

Next year, health officials will launch another study in West Michigan on the relationship between PFAS and people who are exposed to the contaminant, according to the news release.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will conduct a national study in partnership with MDHHS in differing populations across the country in 2021. The “Multi-Site Study” will gather data from Parchment, Cooper Township, Belmont and Rockford, as well as six other locations across the country.

State health officials will notify eligible residents once the study opens for enrollment in 2021, according to the release.

More on MLive:

•  Michigan PFAS activist says blood testing probably saved her life
•  Meet Michigan residents affected by PFAS in their drinking water
•  Activist: ‘I need PFAS polluters to be held accountable’
•  Elevated blood PFAS levels found in Kent County
•  Michigan PFAS site list surges past 100

*Original article online at https://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/2020/11/how-to-sign-up-for-pfas-health-study-in-grand-rapids-kalamazoo-areas.html