State of emergency in west Michigan, local rep. pushes for chemical ban

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The state of emergency is freeing up resources to find the source of the harmful manufacturing chemical known as PFAS which has gotten into the drinking water. Samples show levels 20 times what is considered acceptable.

About three thousand people in Parchment and Copper Township in Kalamazoo County are affected by the state of emergency. A drinking water ban is currently in effect.  

Last Thursday, water testing revealed levels of PFAS were 20 times what is considered acceptable by federal guidelines.

Residents have been told not to drink or cook with their tap water and instead drink only bottled water. The state is funneling in bottled water and other resources. 

“So how bad is this epidemic that we have, and how far does it go throughout our state,” Peter Lucido said.

State Representative Peter Lucido nearly two hundred miles away in Harrison is calling for the substance to be banned all together.

The chemical group PFAS is a manmade chemical used in manufacturing and as a fire retardant material, it's found in the air, soil and water.

“Put an all red out alert immediately about what this PFAS is going to do to humans,” Lucido said.

Lucido tells FOX 2 the chemical is used as a fire retardant at Selfridge air force base, which has him concerned for his constituents in Macomb County. 

“Crafted some legislation, that I hope to have introduced right away when we get back that says, stop anything that’s a fire retardant or PFAS,” he said.

There is limited testing that's been done on the effects of PFAS in humans. It's been shown to cause fertility issues in women and problems for infants. It also is said to cause cholesterol issues and put people at a higher risk for thyroid disease.

Lucido says it's time to stop using it. 

“Water is the number one resource we need to live, waiting is not the answer,” Lucido said.

Federal guidelines require cities of populations ten thousand and up to test for PFAS but in May Governor Snyder's team developed a committee to test nearly fourteen hundred drinking sources statewide. 

It's possible more families could be dealing with the PFAS fallout.