“CASCADE TOWNSHIP, MI — Surface foam on the Thornapple River downstream from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport has tested positive for high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

On Friday, June 29, the Kent County Health Department released test results showing total PFAS in the foam of 319 parts-per-trillion (ppt), alongside an advisory to not eat the foam.

The advisory is similar to one issued June 5 for the Rogue River in Rockford, with the department noting that people aren’t likely to intentionally consume river foam but nonetheless should avoid accidental ingestion while using the river for activity.

Swallowing the foam may pose a health risk, the department said.

According to the joint advisory between Kent County and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, touching the foam isn’t considered a health risk because ‘current science suggests PFAS do not easily enter through the skin’…

Twenty-four different PFAS compounds were detected in the foam, according to the DEQ test results. The highest single result is 197-ppt for PFOS, which is 16 times higher than Michigan’s enforceable standard of 12-ppt for PFOS in surface waters like rivers or lakes.

‘While it is noteworthy that PFAS levels found while testing the Thornapple were significantly lower than were found in the Rogue, the levels are high enough to warrant this advisory,’ said Kent County Health Department spokesperson Steve Kelso.

The Thornapple is the fourth Michigan water body to test positive for high PFAS levels in foam, which has been found on Lake Margrethe near Grayling, Van Etten Lake in Oscoda and the Rogue River in Rockford.

All are near concentrated sources of PFAS groundwater pollution…

The only known PFAS source upstream of the Cascade Dam is Ford Airport, which, earlier this month confirmed PFAS in the groundwater at an old fire training area where PFAS-laden firefighting foam was used.

The airport said it will begin testing nearby residential wells.

The airport denies responsibility for PFAS in the river.”

Read the full article by Garret Ellison