Test results reveal excessive PFOS levels inside condemned Madison Heights business

Substance flows to freeway from building

An alarming discovery was made inside a Detroit building.

MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich. – Test results from inside a Madison Heights business where a chemical found on I-696 came from show elevated PFOS levels.

A substance found on the freeway last month has been traced back to the now-condemned Electro-Plating Services on 10 Mile Road, which was the site of a massive cleanup in 2016 due to improperly stored hazardous waste. It was identified as hexavalent chromium.

MORE: Discovery of substance on I-696 leads to multi-county contamination investigation

Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances are part of a group of chemicals used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. There's been a growing concern about the effects high concentrations can have on human health.

The state says there is no health concern because the drinking water hasn’t been affected. However, the levels of PFOS were so high that officials hope to obtain super funding status to clean up the site.

Some studies suggest that some PFAS may affect the growth, learning and behavior of infants and older children, lower a woman’s chances of getting pregnant, interfere with the body’s natural hormones, increase cholesterol levels, affect the immune system and increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

The Environmental Protection Agency is currently evaluating test results of water and soil samples taken from the site.

An inspection at the Commonwealth Industry building in Detroit on Friday in connection with the contamination also led to concerns that will require further inspections.

Officials said several 8-foot by 10-foot concrete pits were also found inside the building. They were filled with a substance that looks like the one found on the freeway.

Public record searches show the building was at one point owned by Gary Sayers, the businessman who owned Electro-Plating Services.

About the Authors:

Hank Winchester is Local 4’s Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV’s “Help Me Hank” Consumer Unit. Hank works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off people in our community.