PFAS levels in Belmont boy’s blood 50 times higher than national average

BELMONT, Mich. -- A family who lives near an old Wolverine Worldwide dumpsite in Kent County was devastated by the results of their son's recent blood test.

The McNaughton family lives less than 2 miles from the House Street dump site in Belmont. Varnum Law, who is representing several residents who live near old dumpsites, paid to have their son's blood tested.

20-month-old Jack's blood would come back testing at 484 parts per billion with PFAS, a chemical widely believed to cause cancer.  His blood has nearly 50 times the amount of PFAS than an average American.

The news that turned Seth and Tobyn McNaughton's 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.

"1,961 parts per trillion," Seth said, noting the number only came after he pleaded with Wolverine to test their water.  It eventually led them to install a filtration system in the basement of their home.

"When we got the results, it was unbelievable," Seth said. "The health department called. I was standing upstairs, and I said, 'Can you repeat that? Like, what?'"

Seth and Tobyn moved to the area five years ago and said it was their dream home, the place where they'd start a family.

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

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

That's what Seth and Tobyn think put the amount of PFAS in his blood at 484 parts per billion. The average American has roughly 9.7.

"There's not a lot of information out there," Seth 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 says he has noticed health problems in Jack, as well as himself.

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

Seth and Tobyn have put their lives on hold, putting off having any more kids or planning for retirement. Now, they're just waiting for lawyers to tell them what to do next.

"There's a lot of places where people messed up," Seth said. "Many people along the way."

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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