LANSING — The Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART) seeks members of the public to join a new Citizen Advisory Workgroup (CAW) to advise the state on its ongoing response to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination.
The announcement this week builds on Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's Executive Order 2019-03 (EO) that formalizes MPART's mission within the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) and directs the agency to increase citizen engagement, transparency and accountability in the ongoing state efforts to identify PFAS contamination and protect public health.
"In February I signed an executive order establishing MPART as an enduring body that would address the threat of PFAS with the goal of continuing to protect public health and ensure the safety of Michigan's land, air and water," Whitmer said in a statement. "Michiganders must be a part of the conversation when it comes to combating PFAS. I'm looking forward to seeing the joint work towards real solutions between MPART and the public. All state government processes should be accessible and transparent, especially when it comes to public health and the environment."
In addition to representing the concerns of communities negatively impacted by PFAS and keeping the public informed, the CAW also will provide input and advice to MPART as it continues its mission of identifying and mitigating PFAS contamination and protecting the public from exposure risks.
"A critical element of protecting public health is keeping the public informed,” MPART Executive Director Steve Sliver said. “We look forward to hearing from members of the public who want (to) help their fellow Michiganders stay informed, educated and empowered in our state's ongoing response to PFAS contamination in their communities."
The workgroup's draft charter was developed with input from three focus groups sessions with members of the public directly impacted by PFAS contamination in their communities. The draft charter and registration form for CAW membership consideration are available at Michigan.gov/PFASresponse.
"Members of impacted communities across the state are encouraged with the formation of this workgroup," said Jennifer Carney, a Belmont resident who served on one of the focus groups. "It will provide a way for us to advise and assist MPART with engaging and empowering communities and educating the general public."
PFAS compounds are a group of emerging and potentially harmful contaminants used in thousands of applications globally including firefighting foam, food packaging and many other consumer products. These compounds also are used by industries such as tanneries, metal platers and clothing manufacturers. The discovery of PFAS contamination is a nationally growing trend across the United States.