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Nessel files lawsuit against company for PFAS contamination in West Michigan

The lawsuit is seeking compliance and damages from FKI Hardware, Inc. in connection to PFAS contamination in West Michigan.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Attorney General Dana Nessel has filed a lawsuit against FKI Hardware, Inc. in connection to multiple sites contaminated with PFAS across Southwest and West Michigan.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are hazardous chemicals that can contaminate the environment and spread. Often referred to as "forever chemicals," PFAS does not break down easily and accumulates in the body. This can cause health issues like higher cholesterol, thyroid disease, liver damage, reduced fertility and more.

The lawsuit also claims TCE (trichloroethylene) is present, which is a substance that can cause serious health issues. TCE is classified as a carcinogen and can cause damage during short-term exposure. Long-term exposure can cause issues with the central nervous system, immune system and the endocrine system.  

Nessel filed the lawsuit Thursday, announcing it at a press conference in Grand Rapids. The lawsuit is seeking compliance and damages from FKI in connection to the PFAS contamination.

“Michigan residents deserve to be safe from environmental contamination in their communities,” said Nessel. “Companies that do business in Michigan, pull up stakes and leave their communities with contaminated air and water will pay the price. This lawsuit is another demonstration of my department’s commitment to do what is necessary to hold companies that polluted our environment accountable.”

FKI Hardware, Inc., successor to the Keeler Brass Company, manufactures hardware for furniture, cabinetry and other home hardware. 

PFAS is known to be present in metal finishing that is often used in the metal plating process.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) says the department asked FKI to comply with state law to stop the spread of PFAS and TCE, but claims the company has not done so.

The following sites in West Michigan are suspected to be contaminated with PFAS:

  • 945 and 955 Godfrey Avenue SW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503;  
  • 2929 32nd Street SE, Kentwood, Michigan 49512
  • 835 Hall Street SW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
  • 236 Stevens Street SW, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49507
  • 311 N. Centennial Street, Zeeland, Michigan 49464
  • 39 State Street, Middleville, Michigan 49333
  • 4300 Ferry Street SW, Grandville, Michigan 49418 
  • 609 Tupper Lake Street, Lake Odessa, Michigan 48849
  • 157 W. Beech Street NE, Cedar Springs, Michigan 49319

At the press conference, Nessel said she wants to reach a resolution soon.

"We're going to be relentless, at least pursuing those cases," Nessel said. "And hopefully, my hope is always to come to a resolution in those cases, sooner rather than later."

To read more about the lawsuit, click here.

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