BELMONT, Mich. — Blood results are trickling in for Belmont-Rockford area residents affected by Wolverine World Wide’s Scotchgard dumping, including one woman whose blood is more than 500 times a national average.
The state of Michigan also moved forward Wednesday, filing a lawsuit against WWW in federal court for contaminating water and to reimburse the government from past and future costs. The Environmental Protection Agency also ordered WWW to further investigate and potentially clean up the contaminants.
“I forwarded [my blood test results] to my attorney, who then a few minutes later called me,” said Sandy Wynn-Stelt. “So that was my first clue this was probably not good.”
Wynn-Stelt’s blood is just as contaminated as her water with PFAs, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, the dirty chemicals WWW dumped for decades, including yards away at the House Street dump site she and her late husband unknowingly faced for more than 20 years.
“The challenge with this is I’ve lived here 20 some years, and you drink the water every day,” she said. “So I don’t know, maybe I’d feel different than I would if I didn’t have Scotchgard running through my veins.”
Wynn-Stelt shared her lab results with FOX 17 that show her blood tested for more than 5,020 parts per billion in PFAs. Compared with 2011-2012 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, she has more than 512 times the average PFAs in blood levels.
“I’m worried about it, I’m also thankful that I was able to get my blood tested because so many other people haven’t been able to get their blood tested because it’s really costly,” said Wynn-Stelt. “And at least now I have data that I can take to the doctor, and we can plan. So many people don’t have this option right now and they need that.”
While WWW installed a monstrously large water filter in her home allegedly testing PFAs-free now, Wynn-Stelt says she drinks from her filtered water jugs. She demands that Wolverine pay for blood testing of all residents affected by their PFAs dumping.
“It’s data that we need to make decisions, and if they won’t give us the data it makes it a lot harder to make decisions, and then people act out of fear,” said Wynn-Stelt. “And we don’t need people acting out of fear right now. We just need data.”
Wynn-Stelt is one of more than 200 residents now represented by Varnum Law individually in lawsuits against WWW. She says she’s made an appointment with her doctor to determine next steps and believes this is an opportunity to build to the seemingly small health data of PFAs.
Meanwhile, Wolverine must respond to the EPA’s order by next week.