PFAS Fighter In Michigan And What We Can Do To Battle Cancer
Facing cancer takes a tremendous amount of bravery. Prevention takes just as much. Now, one pioneer in the fight against PFAS fights both.
Last week, Sandy Wynn-Stelt announced that she has been diagnosed with cancer. That is a tremendously painful moment for anyone, but it has an added degree of tragedy for Sandy. She has been fighting for strict PFAS regulation and a robust clean-up effort in her hometown of Belmont, Michigan for decades. She’s already lost her husband to cancer. And now, she’ll continue her fight with a cancer diagnosis of her own.
Wynn-Stelt has been a fixture in Washington, D.C., and Lansing as a leading advocate for PFAS cleanup. She lived for over three decades across the street from a dump that was used by a local shoemaking factory owned by Wolverine. A 3M waterproofing chemical used by the company contributed to a massive five-mile by six-mile area and has contaminated over 1,000 wells in Kent County.
Sandy’s blood found astronomical levels of PFAS, tested at over five million parts per trillion, the highest amount ever recorded in a human.
PFAS legislation has remained in the news in Michigan, in spite of coronavirus and the economic hardships the pandemic has created. Just last month, legislators introduced a new bill that will extend the statute of limitations to allow for private and public entities to sue polluters further back in time than current laws allow. At last check, the bill had no Republican support, though over a dozen Democrats have already signed on to push it through.
PFAS will be a problem for American families for generations to come, but we can do more to reduce its impact. Through legislation and with state and federal funding, we can undertake the cleanups we need to keep families safe. That funding, plus the ability to sue polluters to take accountability for their actions, starts and ends in the congressional chambers in every state in the country and most certainly in our nation’s capital.
This election season, it’s important to know where the candidate stands on issues such as PFAS, climate change, access to healthcare, and regulating cancer-causing chemicals. No matter what party you support, cancer doesn’t care. Take action to fight cancer at the ballot box by supporting advocates, not parties.