In­ves­ti­ga­tion into tan­nery waste dis­posal ex­pands

The Detroit News - - Front Page -

Michi­gan of­fi­cials say the state’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion into old tan­nery waste dis­posal has ex­panded.

The state Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Qual­ity said it’s now in­ves­ti­gat­ing 75 sites for toxic in­dus­trial chem­i­cals that were used by Wolver­ine World Wide to water­proof shoes.

The depart­ment, which is us­ing tips from the pub­lic to com­pile a list of sites, has re­ferred about 26 lo­ca­tions to the shoe man­u­fac­turer for fur­ther test­ing, depart­ment spokes­woman Mel Brown said. The lat­est test­ing area in­cludes about 100 homes in Rock­ford. Pri­vate well tests in­di­cate that sludge may have been used as fer­til­izer in the area, and there may have been waste dump­ing in a lo­cal gravel pit, ac­cord­ing to the depart­ment.

Brown has urged res­i­dents to drink bot­tled wa­ter un­til test­ing is com­pleted. Wolver­ine has dis­trib­uted bot­tled wa­ter to res­i­dents as it con­ducts tests.

Sci­en­tists said the tox­ins are per­flu­o­roalkyl and polyflu­o­roalkyl sub­stances, or PFAS, which is a class of chem­i­cals that has been tied to can­cer, thy­roid prob­lems and other dis­eases. The chem­i­cals can also be found in fire­fight­ing foams, clean­ing prod­ucts, house­hold cook­ware and car­pets, and some food pack­ag­ing.

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