Family blames nearby dump site for toddler's health problems - WNEM TV 5

Family blames nearby dump site for toddler's health problems

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A Michigan family who lives near a shoe manufacturer’s old dumpsite say they were devastated to find the level of a chemical widely believed to cause cancer in their 20-month-old son’s blood is 50 times the national average.

The McNaughton family lives less than two miles from the House Street dump site in Belmont.

The family paid to have their son, Jack, tested. The 20-month-old’s blood came back testing at 484-parts per billion with PFAS, a chemical widely believed to cause cancer.

“At first, I thought it was parts per trillion, so I said ‘Oh, that’s not too bad,’” Seth McNaughton said. “But it’s a thousand times more than that.”

His blood has nearly 50 times the amount of PFAS than the average American.

“I cried,” Tobyn McNaughton said.

It was news that would turn their world upside down. They were already on edge because the water in their home tested almost 28 times the safe level of PFAS recommended of 70 parts per trillion.

“Nineteen hundred and sixty-one parts per trillion,” Seth McNaughton said. The father noted the number only came out after he pleaded with Wolverine Worldwide to test their water in the first place.

It eventually led them to install a filtration system in the basement of their home.

“When we got the results it was unbelievable,” Seth McNaughton said. “The health department called. I was standing upstairs and I said, ‘Can you repeat that? Like, what?’”

The McNaughton moved into their home five years ago. It was the place where they would start their family.

Twenty months ago, their son Jack was born.

"I was drinking eight glasses [of water] a day," Tobyn McNaughton said. "I was really making sure that I was getting that eight glasses."

Tobyn McNaughton said she drank the contaminated water all during her pregnancy, and Jack has been drinking the water his entire life.

It’s what the parents think put the amount of PFAS in his blood.

"There's not a lot of information out there," Seth McNaughton said. "It's not been on anybody's radar. This isn't as known to a lot of people or doctors. There's not as much study over these chemicals as there has been of others."

Jack is the first child in the area to have his blood tested, since neither Wolverine or Plainfield Township will pay for it. Seth McNaughton said he has noticed health problems in Jack, as well as himself.

"Jack, he's had almost every cold or every flu," he said. "It seems like he's always sick."

Seth and Tobyn haven't had their blood tested yet for PFAS but hope to in the future. 

Jack has an appointment with a toxicologist next week to find out what they will do next.

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