89.1 WEMU

PFAS

Brian Steglitz
City of Ann Arbor / a2gov.org

Maintaining water service and safety remains an essential service during Governor Whitmer's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks with the manager of Ann Arbor's water treatment services, Brian Steglitz, about managing the system to filter out virus and chemical contamination. 


Debbie Dingell
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

Since President Donald Trump took office, 58 environmental protection policies have been rolled back or rescinded.  37 more are in the process of being taken off the books.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair checks in with 12th District Michigan Congresswoman Debbie Dingell about efforts to thwart federal policies that threaten environmental health and sustainability.  


Jeff Irwin
Michigan Senate Democrats / senatedems.com

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently released the latest Michigan state budget, and it includes funding for a number of environmental programs.  And, it builds on the initiatives launched in her first budget cycle as governor.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair talks over environmental priorities, progress, and challenges with State Senator Jeff Irwin. 


Sara Ganim
University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications / jou.ufl.edu/

Sara Ganim is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with strong ties to Michigan.  Her new independent film, “No Defense: The U.S. Government’s War on Water,” looks into the PFAs contamination emanating from the old Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda and how our government’s conflict of interest has lead to inaction.  WEMU’s David Fair and Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director Lisa Wozniak caught up with Sara in advance of the free screening of her film at the State Theatre in Ann Arbor on February 19th.


Huron River Watershed Council
D. Brown / Huron River Watershed Council

PFAS contamination continues to threaten Michigan's environment, as well as the health of its citizens.  Over the past month, action at the state level has been taken to fight this problem.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," Rebecca Esselman, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council, discusses progress and challenges with WEMU's David Fair.


Car Seat
Ciukes / flickr.com

Car seats are designed to keep children safe inside moving vehicles, but toxic chemicals are used to keep them flame-retardant in the manufacturing process.  That is a danger in and of itself.  The Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center has been working with car seat companies to have the chemicals removed and is noting some progress as we head into 2020.  WEMU's David Fair gets the details in a conversation with the Ecology Center's green living resources director, Melissa Cooper Sargent.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

PFAS chemicals are being linked to more and more serious health problems.  But still, it’s legal to use them in the U.S., with minor exceptions.  And they can be imported from other countries.  Manufacturers are not required to make the public aware of PFAS content in their products.  Consequently, consumers are pretty much in the dark.  In the fifth of our 5-part series on PFAS, we look at policies and perspectives on where we are, and we can go from here.


The Green Room: PFAS Part IV-Prevention

Oct 25, 2019
Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

The chemical bonds of PFAS substances are virtually indestructible.  That makes their complete disposal hard, if not impossible.  Meanwhile, their usefulness to industry makes them hard to give up.  This is a growing problem, because PFAS are associated with serious health issues.  In the fourth of this five-part “Green Room” series on PFAS, we look at the challenges and opportunities inherent in preventing further spread of PFAS chemicals. 

Tony Spaniola
89.1 WEMU

Through the contentious and controversial process of passing a new state budget, there was a point when the Republican-led Legislature removed much of the money earmarked to address water issues in Michigan.  Most of the money made its way back in by the time Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed the spending bills and rearranged departmental spending.  In this month’s "1st Friday Focus on the Environment," you’ll get reaction to the spending plans and a look at increasing bi-partisanship when it comes to protecting our waters.  89.1 WEMU’s David Fair talks it through with Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director Lisa Wozniak and Tony Spaniola from the organization Need Our Water, Oscoda. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are being found across the country in the drinking water of community water supplies, residential wells, schools and daycare centers.  Where is it coming from?  Factory waste is a major source.  These “forever chemicals” don’t break down, and where PFAS-containing waste is dumped, it spreads.  In Segment III of 89.1 WEMU's five-part “Green Room” serieson PFAS, we explore a few of these sites.


International Association for Great Lakes Research / http://iaglr.org/

The 2019 algal bloom on Lake Erie now measures over 650-square miles and continues to expand.  At the root of the issue is agricultural runoff and, in particular, phosphorous. Ed Verhamme is a project engineer with the private water solutions firm, LimnoTech.  The company conducts research, analysis, and consults with governmental agencies and other stakeholders to advance the cause of safe and clean waters.  In this month's '1st Friday Focus on the Environment' conversation with WEMU's David Fair and Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director Lisa Wozniak, you'll get the latest on progress and the work towards solutions that lay ahead. 


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Over the last half-century, PFAS chemicals have been added to the formulation of innumerable products we use on a daily basis.  The manufacture and disposal of these products releases them to our environment, where they can get into our food and water.  Unfortunately for us, they can be harmful to our health, and they don’t biodegrade.  These “forever chemicals” have become pervasive in our lives.

Courtesy Photo / radioresultnetwork.com

A town hall meeting will be held Tuesday evening August 20th at Eastern Michigan University to address concerns over the man-made chemicals known as PFAS.  U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Dingell from the 12th District is co-hosting the event with other local elected officials.  Dingell says that, while PFAS has been detected in the Huron River, the river is not the only concern.

Washtenaw County
Washtenaw County Health Department / washtenaw.org

In this segment of our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor area, WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with outgoing health department officer Ellen Rabinowitz and her replacement Jimena Loveluck.


Laura Rubin
Huron River Watershed Council / hrwc.org

After two decades as executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council, Laura Rubin is expanding her environmental mission.  Back in April, Rubin was named director of the Healing Our Waters, Great Lakes Coalition.  On the August edition of  “1st Friday Focus on the Environment,” WEMU’s David Fair and Lisa Wozniak of the Michigan League of Conservation Voters talk with Rubin about the first few months on the job and where the coalition is headed. 


University of Michigan
University of Michigan School of Public Health / sph.umich.edu

The appearance of the chemicals known as PFAs in local waterways has become a serious problem.  Yet, a recent study determined that certain foods contain such contaminants, as well.  In this week's "Issues of the Environment," WEMU's David Fair discusses the research with Dr. John Meeker, professor of environmental health sciences at the U-M's School of Public Health.


Barbara Lucas / 89.1 WEMU

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances have been highly valued by industry as useful in a wide variety of products.  But, as more studies are conducted and more information comes to light, the more concerns grow.  In this first of 89.1 WEMU's five-part series on PFAS, we explore the growing list of health issues associated with PFAS, in " The Green Room." 


In this edition of "In the Public Interest," our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with league member Terri Wilkerson about why the league is advocating for a complete shutdown of the major, underwater oil pipeline that travels under the Straits of Mackinac.


Matt Grocoff
Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

According to one of the world’s leading, net-zero energy builders, the population has outgrown its manufactured water systems.  Matt Grocoff is founder of the Thrive Collaborative and has installed a rainwater system at his Ann Arbor home that he is working to make the water system of the future.  In this conversation with WEMU’s David Fair, Grocoff explains why a shift in the way we engineer our water systems is a necessity and how it can work on this week's "Issues of the Environment."


League of Women Voters in the Ann Arbor Area
Lisa Barry / 89.1 WEMU

This week on "In the Public Interest," our bi-weekly conversation with the League of Women Voters of the Ann Arbor Area, 89.1 WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with league member Carolyn Madden about the league’s efforts to advocate and influence public policy.

                  

michigan.gov

In her first few months in office, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has made infrastructure and clean water among her top priorities.  Whitmer outlines her environmental strategy and budget with 89.1 WEMU's David Fair and Michigan League of Conservation Voters executive director, Lisa Wozniak.