Read the full article by Moira Harrington (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The world’s largest source of fresh water, the Great Lakes, provides drinking water to more than 40 million people in the U.S. and Canada. In the first study of its kind, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have demonstrated that tributary rivers feeding Lake Michigan play an important role in bringing the human-made group of chemicals known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, to the Great Lakes system.

Christy Remucal, UW–Madison professor of civil and environmental engineering, and co-author Sarah Balgooyen, a postdoctoral researcher, quantified 10 PFAS chemicals known as perfluoroalkyl acids, or PFAAs, in the water and sediment of 41 tributaries to Green Bay of Lake Michigan. They published their findings recently in the ACS ES&T Water Journal).

‘Tributary PFAS loading to the Great Lakes is poorly understood,’ says Remucal, whose work was supported by the Wisconsin Sea Grant College Program. ‘The role of sediments as a PFAS source or sink is also largely unknown. Our study is bringing some much-needed answers to not only the people who live around the bay of Green Bay, but also to all of the Great Lakes communities because it’s an interconnected water system. These findings could also be extrapolated to understand the conditions surrounding thousands of other tributaries that flow into the five lakes.'”…