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Air force base the latest spot in Michigan to have tainted water

Jan 6, 2017

There’s an irony in Michigan. We are surrounded by the Great Lakes and have access to vast supplies of water. However, there are plenty of examples of water issues across the state. From the Flint water crisis, to the city of Ann Arbor's problem with 1,4 dioxane in the ground water. There's also dioxin in Midland and the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River

Recently, we added the contamination near Oscoda to that list of water problems in Michigan. The source looks to be the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which closed in 1993.

Chuck Lichon, the deputy health officer and environmental health director for four counties, joined Stateside to talk about how the water in Oscoda became contaminated with perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs.

According to Lichon, the origin of the chemicals are a foam that was used to put out fires on the base. That foam, and its flame retardant chemicals, found its way into the ground and has contaminated the drinking water.

Listen to the full interview above to find out what is known about the dangers of PFCs, what is being done to take care of the problem and the challenges associated with the clean-up.

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