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Private labs offer contaminant testing amid Michigan crisis

July 24, 2018
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Equipment used to test for PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl chemicals) in drinking water at Trident Laboratories in Holland, Mich., pictured on Monday, June 18, 2018. Trident Labs added testing for perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, in March after toxic contamination was identified at a former tannery near Rockford.(Cory Morse/The Grand Rapids Press via AP)

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan drug testing lab is among several private businesses tapping into the state’s investigation of chemical contaminants.

Trident Labs added testing for perfluorinated chemicals, known as PFAS, to its services in March after toxic contamination was identified at a former tannery near Rockford.

The Holland lab said it can produce PFAS testing results in five days for $250 using its existing liquid chromatography equipment, MLive.com reported. The turnaround time and low cost are rare for environmental testing, where bills can total thousands of dollars.

Trident can keep costs low by sending homeowners kits that they can use to draw water from the tap themselves.

Trident has run tests for homeowners around the Rockford site and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport near Grand Rapids, where elevated levels of PFAS have been found in soil and groundwater, said Trident Supervisor Lyle Rawlings. Residents outside of areas where chemical contaminants are known to be prevalent are also having their water tested, he said.

Private Michigan labs like Trident claim to follow Environmental Protection Agency methods for PFAS testing, but aren’t recognized on the federal agency’s list of approved labs.

The EPA said it no longer vets labs to see if they follow its PFAS testing methods. There are only 18 EPA-approved labs around the U.S., and none are in Michigan.

But private businesses like Trident are ahead of the state in launching labs to process PFAS data as the crisis grows in Michigan.

The state still doesn’t have its own lab set up to handle its testing samples for PFAS. State officials designated $1.48 million for a groundwater testing lab in December, but it won’t open until the end of this year, according to Michigan Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Scott Dean.

Michigan expects its turnaround time for test results to be about a week once the lab is operational.

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Information from: The Grand Rapids Press:MLive.com, http://www.mlive.com

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