Read the full article by Amanda Chodnicki

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as PFAS or PFCS, are contaminating water sources across the country, including right here in mid-Michigan…

Recently, one well in Parchment tested for levels of PFAS 26 times higher than a federal health advisory.

It also came to light not too long ago that the Flint River is contaminated by this chemical…

Officials said the first known site in Michigan was Oscoda back in 2010.

Chris Coulon has spent most of her life on the water in Oscoda.

‘We grew up here,’ she said. ‘We ran around all summer bare feet swimming in all the lakes and the rivers.’

Her childhood home sits on Van Etten Lake and across the way is the old Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

‘I’ve always had a feeling that something was going to come out,’ Coulon said.

In 2010, that feeling turned into a reality for Chris and her family after the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, sampled a former fire training site on the base.

They soon came to learn the site tested positive for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or PFAS…

Although more research is needed, the state said some studies in people have shown that certain PFAS may do the following:
– Affect growth, learning and behavior of infants and older children
– Lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
– Interfere with the body’s natural hormones
– Increase cholesterol levels
– Affect the immune system
– Increase the risk of certain types of cancer

Coulon said she can’t help but think this ‘forever chemical’ is behind her own sister’s health issues.

‘She swam in this water [Van Etten Lake] with the foam in it every day in the summer,’ she said.

Her sister was exposed to the lake the most in her family because she worked as a life guard for four years.

‘She ended up getting breast cancer when she was 28 years old and shortly after that, she got rheumatoid arthritis,’ Coulon said. ‘We don’t have a history of either of those in our family, so it makes me wonder.’

Chris and her sister are members of the Need Our Water, or NOW action group, working to bring awareness to PFAS and push for a change.”