01/15/2020- Calls for an epidemiological study on how PFAS exposure may have affected Marinette County residents are being heard by a local lawmaker. State Senator Dave Hansen is asking the state Department of Health Services to provide free blood tests for those people who live in or near the contaminated areas; and to conduct a cancer cluster assessment of residents and their children, who may have been exposed to PFAS living in the Marinette and Peshtigo areas. Hansen says the need for large-scale funding of such tests was made apparent after hearing the stories residents shared at a listening session last month of how they believe PFAs exposure may have negatively impacted their health and that of their loved ones.
“People are frightened. They want to know if they’ve been exposed and if so, to what level. These compounds have been linked to very serious health issues, so I think people have the right to know and what we’re asking for is for DHS to come up with a plan to allow people in the containment area or right around it, or in Porterfield where the sludge has been deposited, to see what kind of health issues they might have as a result of this PFAS condition.”
Hansen says similar testing is already being done in known PFAS-contamination zones in states like Michigan and Minnesota and it’s time for the Badger State to step up and do the same for its residents.
“People should not have to worry about clean water and they’ve been drinking- children and a lot of adults- probably have been drinking poison, unknown to them. So, we’ve got to find out what kind of condition they’re in and what we can do to make this work. So, they (DHS) would set up a protocol and provide them (the tests) for free and then provide them with the results and we’d compare them to the national average to see if there’s a problem and then they can decide by going to their doctor- if they have a high (exposure) level- if there’s something they can do to improve their condition.”
Exposure to PFAS has been linked to liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. The DHS has not yet responded to Hansen’s request.