By: Maissa Hamieh
Summary: Michigan has new water drinking standards, and they may finally actually do something in the state’s best interest. Considering everything Michigan’s water has been through, from the Detroit river to Flint, finally after about 2 weeks of session days Michigan Legislature’s Joint Committee passed a new rule which takes effect August 3, 2020. Michigan’s regulations will limit seven PFAS (toxic chemicals in the water) chemicals in drinking water and will covers over 2,500 different water supplies around the state and is stricter than the current US EPA rules currently held up to code. This new PFAS standard forces an immediate effect on existing rules for cleaning up Michigan’s water. Existing groundwater will have a 70 ppt for PFOS and PFOA and the new groundwater standard will be 8 ppt for PFOA and 16 ppt for PFOS and also will be a result in 42 new sites being added into MPART’s portfolio of ongoing PFAS investigations which prior consisted of landfills and manufacturing sites. The EPA has continuously denied calls made by the state so Michigan went forward and made it’s own regulations and by it being stricter than the EPA’s, they cannot deny us these standards. This water that the people of our state drink deserve to have it be clean. Water we bathe with, wash our food with. Considering Michigan has had such a high count in PFAS contamination it’s a good thing that our new rules and regulations are among the strictest in the United States. This forces not only corporations who package and make our food and drink and companies that use the water in whatever they are selling us first, but Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy itself to watch for what is being given to us in our water and keeps us safe.
Why we should care? This water is water we use to cook, clean, take care of our property with. If we are not careful we can ruin not only the planet but our health as well. We deserve to have clean drinking water.
Michigan has had a long running issue with clean water and I’ve seen what has happened to the people of Flint, I’ve lived in the Middle East and have seen what not having access to water has done to them there. I’ve been places who don’t have this issue and see the way they flourish. Being able to have access to clean water is a basic human right and should not be political or a classist issue. Everyone should have it and human rights are something that hold an importance to me, someone who’s lived every side of the class scale, a female, and a person of Arab descent. Human rights should not be a political problem.
Science in Action.
Dr. Cory Rusinek is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
Dr. Rusinek's research focuses on what ways PFAS negatively effect the body and the community and is looking for a new method to breakdown and destroy PFAS. He has studied their chemical structure and since they are near impossible to break down because they’re so complicated, he believes by using electrochemical oxidation, he is able to break it down and get rid of the toxins, which is exactly what the state is attempting to figure out to rid these toxins from our water which is the reason why they’ve made such strict regulations and advancing their investigation to more places that might be a contaminant.