Health Department Receives Grant to Test for Toxic Chemicals

Monitoring contaminants has become increasingly important in the United States and especially in Michigan. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently awarded a grant to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) to support statewide toxic chemical biomonitoring. Michigan was among six state health departments selected nationwide and will receive about $4 million over five years to support two different programs. Matt Geiger, Chemistry and Toxicology Division Director at the MDHHS State Public Health Lab, said that Michigan has a legacy of industrial activity and a high number of hunters, anglers, and private well users. He said that Michigan adults may be exposed to environmental chemicals in different ways than the rest of the U.S. population. The first test will aim at testing PCB levels in a group of adults that represent Michigan adults statewide. The second will test for PFAS levels in Michigan Firefighters. Data from recent studies show firefighters have a higher level of PFAS in their blood than the national average. Robert Gordon, Director of the MDHHS, said that statewide toxic chemical biomonitoring will benefit Michiganders. He believes it will allow the department to better assess and address exposure to environmental chemicals in our communities.