Varnum paying for blood tests for homeowners with toxic water

Varnum blood tests

BELMONT, MICH. - Homeowners in Plainfield Township said Sunday Varnum Law in Grand Rapids will cover the costs of blood tests for people with homes that reported unsafe amounts of the toxic chemicals linked Wolverine Worldwide's dumpsite on House Street in Belmont.

Varnum represents nearly 80 people in Plainfield Township with private wells that are or may be contaminated by the PFOS chemical used in Wolverine's Scotchgard product. An email from a Varnum attorney said the firm will cover blood tests for PFAS, under which PFOS falls, for homes with some of the highest chemical readings.

"I'm excited and kind of nervous to know what my level's going to be," said Jennifer Carney, whose home on Chandler Drive tested at 147.9 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFAS. The Environmental Protection Agency's safety advisory level for drinking water is 70 ppt.

Carney is getting her blood drawn in Grand Rapids then sending it to Vista Analytical Laboratory in California, one of the only labs that tests for PFAS.

Varnum has asked Wolverine to pay for the blood tests, but the company has not agreed to that, said Aaron Phelps, partner at Varnum.

Wolverine Worldwide has not commented on the blood tests. But Wolverine said in a statement Saturday that 3M, the company that makes the Scotchgard product containing PFOS, assured the shoemaker the chemical is safe.

"It takes 45 days to get the results," Carney said. "I feel in my gut that it's going to come back positive." 

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