Agency seeks ways to keep fire retardants out of Great Lakes

Published: Jul. 13, 2018 at 9:54 AM EDT
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On Monday, the Michigan League of Conservation Voters sent out a statement regarding the report of prevention of pollution from flame-retardant chemicals in the Great Lakes.

Executive Director Lisa Wozniak issued the comment.

It said, ""We must reduce the risk of contamination from toxic, flame-retardant chemicals in our Great Lakes. We now know firefighting foam that contains PFAS and other toxic chemicals is one of the leading sources threatening the drinking water and health of Michiganders across the state. Our state leaders need to join the IJC in taking this crisis seriously. We again call on the Michigan Legislature to immediately return to Lansing and launch an investigation into why a 2012 DEQ report on PFAS was suppressed, and hold hearings on how to address this looming water crisis.”

The International Joint Commission made the recommendations in a report on Thursday, July 12.

They're directed toward both federal governments as well as states, provinces, tribes and cities.

Flame retardants have been added to a variety of commercial and consumer products since the 1970s, including electronic devices, plastics, mattresses and carpets.

They're highly toxic and found in all five of the Great Lakes, particularly Erie and Ontario.

The U.S. and Canada are developing a strategy for managing risks from the chemicals.

In its report, the IJC proposes finding alternative fire retardants that aren't toxic and working with producers on disposal and recycling methods that prevent existing chemicals from reaching the lakes and their tributaries.