Ann Arbor lab testing for PFAS as concerns over contaminants continue

Posted at 9:21 PM, Feb 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-13 21:22:08-05

ANN ARBOR, Mich. --  There are currently 40 sites statewide that are being investigated for PFAS, but here in the state, we have a facility unlike any other in the world that's helping make sure water is safe.

NSF International is currently the only water products testing facility in the world that's studying and approving filters that can flush out the chemicals, which are man-made and have been linked to health problems like thyroid issues and cancer.

Companies are currently  clamoring and spending tens of thousands to get the NSF stamp of approval on their devices.

"We test it to make sure that it's safe to use, that it`s not going to have substandard materials that might actually contaminate the water," said Rick Andrew, a water treatment expert with NSF. "We make sure that it's not going to leak if it's connected to plumbing and we also make sure that it works and that it treats the water the way the manufacturer claims it does."

As NSF scientists plug away at a more permanent solution, their outlook for the thousands of affected residents is mostly good.

"We have continued to see the number of manufacturers requesting us to test their products for PFAS reduction to grow and grow and we expect that trend to continue," said  Andrew. "I'm pretty positive. I'm kind of a glass-half-full kind of guy and I see the future as bright because we're getting a handle on the problem and we're doing something about it."

If you're concerned about PFAS and are shopping for filters,  first check your local water quality report which is issued annually by your water supplier.  It will tell you what you actually need protecting against.

MPART, which is a state agency that's been  designated to investigate PFAS has also provided an online database showing contaminant levels in specific communities.

Another important note: boiling your water won't help. In fact, heat actually concentrates PFAS and increases their harmful effects.