In the News

We believe that the central question of our time is how human beings are going to thrive in the world without destroying the earth's ability to sustain us. In the face of enormous environmental challenges, virtually all sectors of our society are now scrambling to create solutions, and the Ecology Center plays a critical role in advancing the best models.

To do that, we do the following:

  • We educate consumers to help keep their families healthy and safe.
  • We push corporations to use clean energy, make safe products, and provide healthy food.
  • We provide people with innovative services that promote healthy people and a healthy planet.
  • We work with policymakers to establish laws that protect communities and the environment.

Highlights of our media mentions are included below. 

Need to talk to an expert? Please reach out to our communications staff.  


Date Title Publication
Jan. 3

Issues of the Environment: New Michigan laws advance lead poisoning protections

“ ‘Schools and daycares should be places where children are safe from dangerous neurotoxins, like lead,’ said Meli Garcia, regional environmental health organizer for the Ecology Center. ‘Lead impairs children’s brain development and can trigger serious and irreversible learning, and behavioral problems. Now water that has been sitting for extended periods in school pipes will be filtered before children and staff take a drink.’ ”  

WEMU Podcast
Jan. 25

Filter First: The Ann Arbor Public Schools showed the way for the state’s new drinking water standards for schools and child care centers

“ ‘It was fantastic,’ says AAPS parent Rebecca Meuninck. The former Ecology Center deputy director is speaking of the Clean Drinking Water Act that Governor Whitmer signed in October.” 

Ann Arbor Observer
Jan. 29

Proposed legislation could help detect lead exposure sooner in Michigan children

“ ‘As a package, these lead bills will continue to move the needle on preventing lead poisoning in Michigan,’ Mary Sue Schottenfels, a consultant for the Detroit Lead Parent Advisory Group and Ecology Center, said in a statement.”

Planet Detroit
Feb. 8

Advocates and Consumers Energy Reach Agreement on Critical Energy Efficiency Programs

“The Health and Safety Pilot Program has seen tremendous success because it enables home repairs, like fixing faulty wiring, asbestos removal, and patching leaky roofs, in order to reduce deferrals for additional energy efficiency. These investments have a positive impact on a family’s quality of life,” said Alexis Blizman, Ecology Center’s Policy Director.”

Earth Justice
Feb. 28

Issues of the Environment: Ann Arbor leads the way in eco-friendly procurement policies

“The Ecology Center in partnership with Safer States and Healthy Babies Bright Futures are working together to listen to local government challenges (Great Lake Cities Cohort) and help build the tools they need to make progress – model policies, product guides, and online training for staff. They have provided technical assistance and support to over 20 municipalities and states and created tools for sustainability and procurement professionals to aid them in creating and implementing their non-toxic procurement policies.”

March 12

Turf fields may have ‘forever chemicals.’ Should kids be playing on them?

“Jeff Gearhart, the research director at the Ecology Center, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Ann Arbor, Mich., is planning to conduct his own study weathering turf samples in the lab.”

The Washington Post


Date Title Publication
January 3

Consumers Energy increases distributed generation limit from 2 to 4%

“'Community solar can unlock the economic and environmental benefits of solar power for those who might otherwise face barriers to clean energy access,” said Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Program Director at the Ecology Center.”

Solar Power World
January 17

State road groups want electric vehicle owners to make up for lost revenue from gas tax

“Give them a choice not to pay that surcharge, but to pay the VMT-based fee instead," said Charles Griffith, of the Ecology Center.

January 18

Bans on dangerous chemicals in plastics that are put in electronics, vinyl flooring, and beverage liners among first-in-nation policies proposed in Washington state

“Companies can avoid automatically printing receipts and offer an electronic receipt option. For receipts that do get printed, several non-bisphenol drop-in replacements are available.” - Dr. Gillian Miller, Senior Scientist at the Ecology Center

Toxic Free Future
January 20

Automating the recycling sorting process can increase waste management efficiency and play a valuable role in reducing environmental contamination.

“Automating the recycling process has potential to reap financial benefits for the community, according to Recycle Ann Arbor, a nonprofit dedicated to developing and implementing zero-waste initiatives.”

January 23

Debating how to fairly charge electric vehicles for use of the roads

“We have actually proposed a VMT (vehicle miles traveled) based EV (electric vehicle) fee that would take into account, and this is important, the fuel efficiency of the vehicle,” Griffith said.

January 25

Issues of the Environment: Recycle Ann Arbor is a leader in plastics recycling

Bryan Ukena, CEO of Recycle Ann Arbor, says “It’s also important to know our SamurAI robot won’t replace workers. It just improves quality control and reduces safety risk in the workplace.”

WEMU Podcast
February 14

Various Types Of Consumer Goods Targeted With Lawsuits

“A proposed class action complaint was filed the Eastern District of Pennsylvania against Chicco USA, Inc. alleging that certain children’s car seats contain fabrics containing PFAS according to testing performed by The Ecology Center.”

JD Supra
February 16

UMich study looks at potential environmental benefits of reusable carryout containers in Ann Arbor 

“The nonprofit Recycle Ann Arbor collects curbside recycling throughout the city and strongly encourages citizens to reuse materials when possible.”

The Michigan Daily
February 23

Governor Whitmer makes appointments to Boards and Commissions

“Ms. Rebecca Meuninck, of Ann Arbor, is the Deputy Director and Environmental Health Strategic Team Leader for Ecology Center Inc. She has a B.S. from University of Michigan and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State University. Ms. Meuninck is reappointed to represent an organization that focuses on lead exposure advocacy pharmacists.”

Fox UP
February 24

All fish tested from Michigan rivers contain ‘forever chemicals’, study finds

“The findings are “sad”, said Erica Bloom, one of the study’s co-authors with the Ecology Center, an environmental non-profit that tracks PFAS contamination in the state. “It just demonstrates how ubiquitous these chemicals are in the environment,” she said.”

The Guardian
February 25

Fish tested in two Michigan rivers contain ‘forever chemicals’, harmful on consumption: Study

“According to the study done by the Ecology Center, Friends of the Rogue, and the Huron River Watershed Council, researchers collected more than 100 fish from 15 sites along the Huron and Rouge rivers.”

February 28

Ann Arbor proposing new recycling drop-off station outside city

Recycle Ann Arbor operates the drop-off station, which has a pay-as-you-throw model with a $3 per-day entrance fee for a standard car and $15 for larger vehicles. While that creates a financial disincentive for residents to recycle materials that can otherwise be placed in curbside trash bins at no extra cost, city officials have yet to indicate any plans to change the pay-as-you-throw model for the recycling station.”

March 6

Mike Garfield

Mike discusses "greenwashing" and how it relates to the plastics industry. Presently, the oil and petro-chemical industries are promoting the idea of "chemical recycling" (aka catalytic pyrolysis of plastic waste or "depolymerization") which means melting plastic and making it into solid, liquid and gaseous fuel products.”

What Mama Wants
March 6

Fish in two southeast Michigan rivers are loaded with PFAS

“We wanted to see the broader ecological impact,” said Erica Bloom, toxics campaign director at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center. “It does accumulate in different parts, and we need to have a better understanding of how PFAS are affecting the whole body of a fish.”

March 7

New study shows all fish tested from Huron and Rouge Rivers have PFAS

“These folks that we partnered with really helped us design the study. They helped us decide where we wanted to collect and which species would make sense for what people eat,” says Bloom. “I think it’s so important when you’re doing community-based science that you’re working with people most impacted by the contamination.”

March 9

Fish in Huron River have high levels of PFAS chemicals, study shows

Bloom says there is extensive evidence that PFAS chemicals have harmful effects on people and the environment. She believes the economic impacts of getting rid of household items with PFAS is far less than the negative health impacts.”

WEMU Podcast
March 9

Harmful chemicals found in sealants commonly used for construction and remodeling

“This builds on past work we did with the Ecology Center and other partners to drive phthalates out of vinyl flooring sold at retail and supports rules in Washington.”

Toxic-Free Future
March 9

Local advocates aim to make ‘cumulative impact’ a factor in air quality regulation

“When we talk about cumulative impact, we’re talking about the accumulation of various sources of pollution altogether affecting our communities,” Savoie told Planet Detroit. “None of this is really taken into consideration in our policies and regulations in a way that actually protects Southwest Detroit or other parts of the city.”

Planet Detroit
March 18

12 Best Crib Mattresses to Help Lull Kids to Sleep

“In 2020, the Ecology Center teamed up with the “Getting Ready for Baby” campaign to highlight the many materials crib mattresses are made of. Titled “The Mattress Still Matters,” the study surveyed 190 models of crib mattresses spanning 28 manufacturers to analyze what they’re made of—and how willing the manufacturers were to disclose such information.”

Architectural Digest
March 22

Community upset over proposed Detroit recycling hub

Cooper Sargent gestures toward a tall industrial chimney that towers above the incinerator.

“‘It’s designed that way so that as they release the pollutants, they’re supposed to go high up in the air and not settle within the neighborhood, although it does,’ she says.”

March 22

‘Forever chemicals’ found in Rouge, Huron River fish

“From April to June, the anglers were given a choice of 15 locations to fish around the Rouge River and Huron River. Over 100 fish of 12 different species — such as bluegill, pumpkinseed, rock bass and catfish — were tested for 40 different PFAS chemicals. The fish were put into a freezer and transported to Envirolab in Oscoda, Michigan, where they were blended together so that scientists could test the entire fish, rather than just the fillet, which was the previous protocol used in 2018 when the Huron River was contaminated by a chrome plating facility that manufactures shiny coatings on car parts.”

C&G News
March 22

Wayne County to bulk up air quality monitoring network

“We think it's really important that we have access to more information about what's going on with our air at a finer level of detail than what we get with [state] regulatory monitors,” Savoie said.

Michigan Radio
March 24

80% of receipts at major store chains contain "toxic" chemicals, report says

"Receipts are a common exposure route for hormone-disrupting bisphenols which readily absorb through the skin. Our studies show most retailers use bisphenol-coated receipt paper," Melissa Cooper Sargent, environmental health advocate at the Ecology Center, said in a statement. “Switching to non-toxic paper is an easy shift.”

CBS News
March 24

Most Retailers Give Receipts Containing Chemicals Like BPA

“‘Receipts are a common exposure route for hormone-disrupting bisphenols which readily absorb through the skin,’ said Melissa Cooper Sargent, an environmental health advocate for Ecology Center, in a statement. ‘Switching to non-toxic paper is an easy shift.’”

March 24

Reality check: 80% of receipts in US restaurants, bars and grocery stores contain toxic chemicals linked to CANCER, study warns

“Researchers from the Ecology Center in Detroit found the toxic substances in 80 percent of checks used at restaurants, grocery and big box stores including 7-Eleven, ALDI and Costco.”

Daily Mail
March 24

80% of receipts at major stores have “toxic” chemicals: study

“The majority of receipts at the nation's biggest store and restaurant chains contain ‘toxic chemicals’ such as bisphenol A, or BPA, according to new research.”

Yahoo News
March 25

Receipts At Major Store Chains Contain 'Toxic' Chemicals, Report Says

“A study by the Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental health organization in Detroit, said that about 80% of receipts from 122 major chain stores in 22 U.S. states and the District of Columbia contained bisphenols, particularly bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol S (BPS). BPA is a chemical primarily used in the production of polycarbonate plastics.”

WBZ News Radio
March 27

Receipts From Stores Like Kroger and Home Depot Contain "Toxic Chemicals," Report Says

“In addition to consumers, employees who regularly handle receipts (especially women) are at risk, the press release states, with advocates calling for reduced printing of receipts and increased digital options.”

Best Life
March 30

Toxic Receipts! New Study Finds Dangerous Chemicals on Printed Slips You Get From the ATM or Grocery Stores

“Although BPS is promoted as a safer alternative to BPA, the researchers noted that both substances are endocrine-disrupting compounds associated to health problems, including cancer. Together with customers, employees of these establishments may also be more vulnerable due of their ‘continuous potential exposure to endocrine disrupting BPS or BPA,’ according to the paper.”

Daily News Post
April 3

Receipt paper may expose retail workers to hazardous chemicals

“Researchers at the Ecology Center, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, analyzed 374 receipts from 144 chain retailers in 22 states and the District of Columbia. The receipts came from grocery stores, restaurants, big box and department stores, drugstores, gas stations and convenience stores, and home improvement stores.”

Safety + Health
April 4

AI-powered robots could fix recycling’s biggest problems

“While it's sorting as fast as a human, its accuracy still needs work, Bryan Ukena, CEO of Recycle Ann Arbor, tells Axios.

‘We continue to tweak and say, ‘No, this isn’t the right item we want to pick — we want to pick this item,’’ he said. ‘And so it's a process that you go through, but it learns.’”

April 6

80 Percent of Retail Receipts Contain Toxic Substances

“The study went on to explain that ‘nearly all receipts are made from thermal paper, which is coated with layers of chemicals that allow an image to form when a special print head applies heat.’ The researchers used a rapid screening technique to identify developer chemicals, such as BPS, BPA, and non-bisphenol alternatives present on the receipts.”

The Epoch Times
April 6

Amid human health fears over PFAS, Michigan weighs new fish guidance

“Some environmental groups and residents of PFAS-contaminated communities want the state to ratchet down acceptable levels of exposure, and consider extending the guidelines to cover other compounds, said Erica Bloom, toxics campaign director for the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center.

Bridge Michigan
April 12

Q&A: Reduced BPA, BPS in receipts highlights awareness; alternatives still needed

“A recent report from the Ecology Center’s Healthy Stuff Lab found a shift away from use of endocrine-disrupting bisphenol chemicals in retailer receipts to non-bisphenol alternatives from 2017 to 2022.”

April 16

Michigan Groups Urge State To Boost Clean Mobility Investments

“ ‘Strong action to curb tailpipe emissions and harmful pollution is essential to protecting people’s health and addressing climate change, and the Biden Administration deserves credit for tackling this challenge head on,’ said Charles Griffith, director of climate and energy programs at the Ecology Center.

MI Tech News
April 19

Ann Arbor unveils final concept plan for new drive-thru recycling center

“Plans for a new drive-thru recycling center in the Ann Arbor area are taking shape.”

May 17

Environmental Advocates celebrate repeal of No Stricter Than Federal, urge bolder Great Lakes and climate agenda

Alexis Blizman, Policy Director, Ecology Center: ‘Undoing this historically bad decision is a promising step and we look forward to more, bolder legislative action as this session moves forward.’”

Clean Water Action
May 17

Enviros praise Senate passage of bill allowing state regulations to be stricter than federal standards

“ ‘When No Stricter than Federal became law it was a dark day for Michigan. This law was passed during the 2018 lame duck legislative period, and was among the worst laws passed in the worst legislative session in history for Michigan’s environment,’ Blizman said in a news release.

Michigan Advance
June 8

Detroit ecologist highlights climate change amid wildfire pollution, some residents masking up

“ ‘Those are global fire events that impacted communities around the world, but we’re experiencing it firsthand here in Detroit and the East Coast in a major way. So, this is a new experience for us, and this is something that I hope we’ll pay attention to as a sign of the climate change,’ Dr. Kathryn Savoie explained.

WXYZ Channel 7
June 23

Doctors, parents urge lawmakers to pass legislation requiring lead testing for Michigan children

“Others who spoke in favor of the legislation during Thursday’s committee hearing included representatives from the Detroit Lead Parent Advocacy Group, the Learning Disabilities Association of Michigan and the Ecology Center.”

Michigan Advance
July 12

DTE agrees to close Monroe coal plant sooner, accelerate shift to clean energy

“ ‘A swift transition away from coal and a bigger commitment to renewables is an absolute necessity as we transition to a healthy clean energy future,’ said Alexis Blizman, policy director at Ecology Center, in a prepared statement.”

July 12

DTE to close last coal plant sooner under revised 20-year clean energy plan

“As it phases out coal, DTE plans to replace the power with increased renewable energy and natural gas.”

The Detroit News
July 12

Michigan’s largest utility agrees to raise distributed generation cap by 5%

Alexis Blizman, policy director at Ecology Center: “Accelerated coal retirement, replaced with clean renewable energy, will have widespread implications for air quality and public health. There’s no question that this will save lives.”

Solar Power World
Sept. 20

Michigan toddlers to receive universal lead testing under new legislation

Melissa Cooper Sargent, environmental health advocate for the Ecology Center, said the legislation will improve many children’s lives.”

Planet Detroit
Sept. 27

Coalition: Offer EV incentives to reach 2 million by 2030

“ ‘While Michigan has been making important strides in preparing for and encouraging the EV transition, particularly in attracting new battery and EV manufacturing investments, it has fallen behind other states in policies that help more Michiganders get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle,’ Ecology Center climate and energy program director Charles Griffith said in a statement.”

The Center Square
Nov. 8

11 Investigates finds majority of receipts contain potentially dangerous chemicals

“Six out of 245 receipts we tested at the Ecology Center contained BPA. That’s less than 2.5%. None were from national chains. While most retailers have moved away from BPA, it’s often replaced with Bisphenol S or BPS.”

11 News
Nov. 9

I-TEAM: Toxic Receipts - How safe are your receipts?

Gillian Miller is a senior scientist at the Ecology Center. She said, ‘It’s very clear that the chemicals come off the receipts very easily.’ ”

Dec. 1

‘Forever chemicals’ found in freshwater fish, yet most states don’t warn residents

The Ecology Center, an environmental group in Michigan, educates anglers about consumption advisories and related health impacts. But Erica Bloom, its toxics campaign director, noted that for many people out on the river, ‘fishing is a way of life.’ ”

Fortune Well
Dec. 2

Holiday shoppers beware: Study shows 80% of US retail receipts contain harmful chemicals

“A new study from Ecology Center's Healthy Stuff Lab found about 80% of receipts from retailers in the US are printed on thermal paper coated with the chemicals BPA or BPS. Advocates said the chemicals can harm human health and wildlife.”

Dec. 4

New receipt ban in US state will completely change the slip of paper you receive in stores – & it could move nationwide

Scientists from the Ecology Center had several tips to help people mitigate their exposure to bisphenols. Customers should elect not to receive a printed version of a receipt if they can, opting for a digital or emailed version, which also cuts down on paper waste.”

The U.S. Sun
Dec. 4

What can be done to improve air quality in Detroit?

“ ‘We need to shift the thinking to protect human health,’ Kathryn Savoie, director of equity & environmental justice at Ecology Center, said. ‘How do we put that at least equal to the rights of industries that want to run their businesses and ensure that they’re doing it in a healthy way?’ ”

Outlier Media
Dec. 5

State aims for zero emission on all government vehicles

“ ‘Today’s Executive Directive for electrifying the state’s vehicle fleet is a big step forward in meeting the Governor’s climate goals as well demonstrating leadership on the future of Mobility,’ said Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Program Director at the Ecology Center.”

Dec. 6

Opinion | Michigan EV drivers shouldn’t bear outsized cost to pay for roads

“Considering Michigan’s potential for continued economic prosperity in the EV sector, Michigan policymakers should embrace forward-looking road funding policies that are fair, pro-growth and meet our state’s needs as they weigh the impact of gas taxes on Michigan’s infrastructure budgets. In the process, they shouldn’t unfairly and disproportionately penalize EV drivers.” – Charles Griffith

Bridge Michigan
Dec. 6

Detroit farms install monitors to track air pollution

Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center, said it’s important to do air monitoring in all parts of the city, but interest from Detroit farms drove this partnership. 

‘By their nature, urban farmers have an interest to understand what’s going on in the natural environment on the farm,’ Gearhart said, ‘that includes everything from soil to water to air quality.’ ”

Bridge Detroit
Dec. 11

Toxic Legacy: PFAS Contamination Threatens Freshwater Fish

“The Ecology Center in Michigan educates anglers about these health impacts. Eisenman participated in a community-based study by the center, revealing alarming PFAS levels in fish from Michigan’s Huron and Rouge rivers.”

The Southern Maryland Chronicle 
Dec. 13

Issues of the Environment: Gains for people and the environment in the UAW contracts with the Detroit Three

Charles Griffith: “... there's not a planet worth protecting if the people are going to be suffering and not able to support their families and do all the things that we need to do. The bottom line is that we did support the UAW in this strike and the kinds of things that they were seeking in terms of wage and benefit improvements. You know, we stand by that.”

WEMU Podcast


Date Title Publication
February 10

Governor Whitmer Announces Michigan Will Receive $110 Million to Expand Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure

“'The new EV charging infrastructure funds Michigan will receive create a big opportunity for our state to accelerate the EV market, providing assurance to car buyers that they will have access to charging stations to get around the state,' said Charles Griffith, Climate and Energy Program Director at the Ecology Center and co-chair of the Transportation Workgroup of the Council on Climate Solutions. 'Since EVs significantly reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants contributing to climate change and poor air quality more charging infrastructure will make it easier to meet the Governor's bold climate goals.'”

February 10

Sewage Sludge Repackaged as Garden Fertilizer Tests Positive for Toxic Chemicals

“Last year the Sierra Club and the Michigan-based Ecology Center found toxic per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS or 'forever chemicals,' in nine fertilizers made from sewage sludge ... and mapped businesses selling sludge-based fertilizers and composts for home use.”

EcoRI News
February 16

Issues of the Environment: Alleviating energy burden for Michigan’s low-income households

“'Addressing health and safety measures that include air quality, comfort, and environmental hazards, creates a healthier place for people to live and improves their quality of life,' says Alexis Blizman, Legislative & Policy Director of the Clean Energy & Climate Action Team.”

WEMU Podcast
March 2

Lansing could adopt requirement for EV charging stations

“'When I was convinced that there were enough charging stations out there that I could, it could drive an electric vehicle and get to various places around the state I decided to make, make that purchase. And I've been very happy with it,' said Charles Griffith, the climate and energy program director of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor.”

Fox 47
March 17

Consumers Energy and Local Advocates Reach Settlement To Expand Beneficial Energy Efficiency Programs

Alexis Blizman, Ecology Center’s policy director said: 'After a very successful first two years of their health and safety pilot program, we are thrilled to see Consumers Energy both extend and expand the pilot ... These measures ensure that the homes most in need of energy waste reduction are now eligible.'”

Earth Justice
March 22

Industry group blasts one segment of chemical recycling

“In two AMBR reports issued March 16, the group argues that plastics-to-fuel technologies perpetuate a reliance on virgin fossil fuels, present risky financial investments, disproportionately impact people of color, and carry other downsides.”

Resource Recycling 
March 27

See what Ann Arbor’s recycling plant looks like after $7.25M overhaul

“The single-stream plant’s physical redesign and operating strategy are driven by a zero-waste ethic, according to Recycle Ann Arbor, which is on a mission to recycle as much of the materials that come through as possible.”

April 9

Nothing wasted

“'What we’re trying to do is honor the material as it goes completely through the facility,' says RAA CEO Bryan Ukena. 'This means how we handle the material collection, how it's run through the facility and how we treat the people processing the material.'”

Recycling Today
April 10

Home gardeners, be alert to presence of PFAS

“Tests of dozens of products for home use, conducted by the Sierra Club and Ecology Center, identified PFAS in every product, and at levels that exceed a screening standard set for land application in our state.”

Penobscot Bay Pilot
April 13

PFAS and other chemicals found in dollar store products

“'There are known substitutes for these hormone-disrupting chemical hazards,' said Jeff Gearhart, research director of Ecology Center Healthy Stuff Lab, the group that conducted the testing. 'The fact that they continue to be used in these low cost products that dollar stores sell is a real problem.'”

April 13

New Children's Car Seat Ratings & Report Shows Outdated Federal Flammability Standard Unnecessarily Exposes Lower Income Children to Toxic Chemicals

The Ecology Center published a new report, Toxic Inequities; How an Outdated Standard Leads to Toxics in Low-Cost Children's Car Seats, indicating an upward trend in the number of car seats free of flame retardants and per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), but many are still cost-prohibitive due to an antiquated U.S. flammability standard.”

PR Newswire
April 13

Chemical industry pitches ‘advanced recycling’ to Michigan lawmakers

“Michigan lawmakers are considering legislation that could pave the way for industrial facilities that chemically transform plastics into reusable raw material ... The legislation is opposed by the Michigan Recycling Coalition and environmental groups like the Sierra Club, the Ecology Center and the Michigan Environmental Council.”

May 5

Over half of child car seats have toxic flame retardants and PFAS – US study

“The analysis, conducted by the Ecology Center, an environmental and consumer advocacy group, also found all car seats costing under $100 contained either PFAS or flame retardant, which means lower-income children are more likely to be exposed.”

The Guardian 
May 7

More than half of US car seats contain chemicals, report confirms

“The report, which was conducted by the Ecology Center, found that 12 of the 22 U.S. car seats had flame retardants and four of the 19 car seats tested likely contained PFAS.”

Nation of Change
May 12

PFAS News Roundup: 20M acres of farmland polluted, PFAS found in ‘nontoxic’ children’s clothes and car seats

“PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are a group of widespread man-made chemicals that don’t break down in the environment or the human body and have been flagged as a major contaminant in sources of water across the country.”

Great Lakes Echo
May 12

Non-Toxic, Sustainable Car Seats That Grow With Your Little One

According to the Ecology Center, more than 50 percent of the car seats on the market in the U.S. contain hazardous chemicals, such as PFAS (aka “forever chemicals”) or flame retardants, both which are associated with a number of potential health risks, especially in babies and children, who are still developing.”

Green Matters
May 25

New Study Reports Finding PFAS In Children’s Clothes With “Green” Labeling

The Ecology Center released a report in April detailing its findings testing over 600 components of different brands of car seats. The study reports that 4 of the 19 car seats tested contain 'water- and stain-resistant fabrics likely containing PFAS, based on testing for total organic fluorine.' It gave those brands a rating of 'High Concern' (with an unhappy emoji).”

JD Supra
May 28

Ann Arbor receives gold status by state of Michigan sustainability challenge

“The city has implemented several programs to combat climate change and transition to carbon neutrality, including its A2Zero plan, installing public electric vehicle chargers and solar panels, giving residents free trees and increasing its community composting opportunities.”

Click on Detroit
June 1

Over Half of Child Car Seats Have Toxic Chemicals, Says Study

“In its report, The Ecology Center said that 'there is no evidence the nation’s flammability standards have prevented car seat deaths over the last 50 years.' It added, 'Many car seat companies are creating a hazardous exposure problem to follow a broken regulation.'”

June 3

Supply chain slowdown could boost demand for recycle materials

“According to data from Recycle Ann Arbor, number one and two plastics, which contain polyethylene, have the strongest domestic recycling markets. Polyethylene is used to make the plastic you see in trash bags and film.”

Capital News Service
June 21

Ann Arbor’s 5th Ward council race pits restauranteur against marketing exec

“Ramlawi said he’s proud to be Ann Arbor’s first Arab American council member and proud of achievements including reopening the city’s recycling plant, making progress on affordable housing, fighting dioxane polluter Gelman Sciences and implementing a new tax to fill sidewalk gaps.”

June 24

Public Service Commission Shores Up Michigan’s Reserves of Energy Supply

“The Michigan Public Service Commission took steps this week to shore up Michigan’s reserves of energy supply, approving orders that accept a settlement agreement governing Consumers Energy Co.’s long-range plans for providing electricity and seeking input from all electricity providers in Michigan and other interested stakeholders on ways to ensure Michigan continues to have the energy resources it needs, including opportunities to quickly bring new energy resources to the grid.”

MI Tech News
June 27

How to Lounge in PFAS-Free Bras While Your Partner Puts Kids in Less-Toxic Clothes, Car Seats, Strollers

Ecology Center found flame retardants (FRs) in car seats in 2018. Now in 2022, it discovered that companies often switched from well-known toxic FRs to lesser-known chemicals based on phosphorus. And it found there are no infant or convertible car seats sold in the United States for less than $120 that are both FR- and PFAS-free.”

Sierra Club
June 30

Recycling inspectors will search through, tag residential carts in Ann Arbor this summer

“The City of Ann Arbor will take part in the national Feet on the Street campaign this summer to educate residents about best recycling practices. The initiative by the City of Ann Arbor Public Works and Office of Sustainability and Innovation is funded by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy and will be completed with help from The Recycling Partnership, the Washtenaw Regional Resource Management Authority (WRRMA), Recycle Ann Arbor and Washtenaw County.”

Click on Detroit
July 4

Keep fossil fuels out of our democracy

“The well-respected Ecology Center of Ann Arbor has denounced the MiGreenPower program several times as an effort to greenwash DTE’s massive emissions, and they are not alone in their criticisms of the program.”

The Michigan Daily
July 16

Rising EV demand puts America’s only nickel mine in the spotlight

Charles Griffith, director of the Ecology Center’s climate and energy program in Ann Arbor, said the accelerating EV demand creates an opportunity to modernize mining laws.”

July 18

Detroit’s incinerator is coming down. Now, neighbors want a say in repairing toxic legacy.

Melissa Cooper Sargent, a director for the Ecology Center, an Ann Arbor-based environmental organization instrumental in getting the incinerator shut down, said the community should be included in meetings to help guide what comes next.”

Bridge Michigan
July 21

The 18 Best Chew Toys for Dogs That Are Vet-Approved

“In one study, Ecology Center reported 48 percent of tennis balls tested “contained detectable levels of lead.” On top of that, tennis balls designed for pets were more likely to have lead in them than those found on the court at Wimbledon.”

August 3

Harrison, Akmon & Cornell win Ann Arbor City Council races, two incumbents ousted

[Jenn] Cornell is a board member for the Ecology Center, the Main Street Area Association and the Family Learning Institute. Cornell also volunteers with A2Zero, a campaign to achieve carbon neutrality in Ann Arbor by 2030.”

The Michigan Daily
August 4

Latest Huron River tests find no cancer-causing chromium; advisory remains

“It’s not surprising that the 11 samples turned up empty, said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, a long-time advocacy group monitoring the Wixom developments.

“It’s a long section of river,” he said.”

Bridge Michigan
August 5

Huron River chromium spill investigation zeroes in on Milford pond

Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ann Arbor-based advocacy nonprofit Ecology Center, said the new results should help the state narrow its search and conduct “more intensive testing” to better understand how much chromium has made it into the pond.”

Bridge Michigan
August 10

Commission approves new fire safety ordinances

“EV Smart Communities is a recognition program designed to provide communities with a road map to electric vehicle readiness, including securing funding and getting projects off the ground.

The program is led by Clean Fuels Ohio, the Ecology Center, Michigan Municipal League and the Great Plains Institute.”

The Mining Journal
August 15

‘Gross negligence’: popular Michigan river hit with second chemical spill in four years

“Testing indicates that chromium levels in the river are below levels of concern for effects on human health. Still, some may have settled in the river’s sediment and could later spread, said Jeff Gearhart, research director of the Ecology Center.”

The Guardian
August 22

Ann Arbor puts $853K behind new recycling education campaign

“Previous city contracts with the Ecology Center focused on in-classroom programming and field trips for school children. The new contract includes youth education and also expands to meet the broader needs of the community identified in the city’s solid waste plan and A2Zero carbon-neutrality plan.”

September 1

Michigan city approves recycling education contract

“We are delighted by the city of Ann Arbor’s increased investment in community-based education,” says Mike Garfield, director of the Ecology Center. “Community education about recycling and zero waste is central to successful programs and paramount in building the circular economy.”

Recycling Today
September 14

Ann Arbor Trash Talk Tour returns with tours of new city recycling plant

“This year’s event is led by nonprofit Live Zero Waste and organized by staff and volunteers from the Washtenaw Zero Waste Coalition, Recycle Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Office of Campus Sustainability and the Kiwanis Club of Ann Arbor.”

September 22

Michigan groups coalition wants 'clean car' goal by 2030 for state

“‘Don’t focus just on a mandate, we can build the cars - but that doesn’t ensure people are going to buy them, that doesn't ensure we'll have the charging infrastructure we need to get there,’ said Charles Griffith, Ecology Center.”

Fox 2 Detroit
September 22

Michigan Senate passes bills forcing schools to filter drinking water

“All schools and childcare centers in Michigan would be required to filter drinking water for contaminants like lead under legislation which passed by the state senate this week by a large bipartisan margin.

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) and groups like the Ecology Center and National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) supported the bill.”

September 23

Detroit environmentalists raise concerns over proposed rail merger

“The monitors are connected to the Internet and show pollution levels in real time. The Ecology Center has placed around 30 of them in Detroit; on the city's east side near the Stellantis Plant, in southwest Detroit, and along the Cass Cooridor in Midtown.

“These monitors allow us to really get a handle on what’s happening at a really local level," Kathryn Savoie said.”

WXYZ Detroit
October 12

Issues of the Environment: The environmental pros and cons of the Federal Inflation Reduction Act for Washtenaw County and the region

“It's been more than 40 years since Congress has been aware that climate change is an issue that deserves urgent attention. And it's only this summer that we finally passed the first major climate law in United States history. It's a monumental event.” - Mike Garfield, Ecology Center. 

WEMU Podcast
October 13

Meet the people behind a community-based effort to monitor Detroit's air

“In Detroit, what we have is a real public health crisis with air quality,” said Kathryn Savoie of the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center. “We have 700 people per year that die from air quality issues.”

Michigan Radio
October 26

Tlaib introduces bill aimed at curtailing environmental racism

Kathryn Savoie, director of Equity and Environmental Justice at the Ecology Center, called the bill “an historic step toward environmental justice.” 

Detroit Metro Times
November 14

Why you should throw away your non-stick pan the second it cracks

“A 2022 report from the non-profit organization Ecology Center shows that 79 percent of non-stick cooking pans and 20 percent of non-stick baking pans were coated with PTFE.” 

Popular Science
December 7

New fee for drivers could be in Michigan’s future

Charles Griffith is the Director of the Climate and Energy Program at The Ecology Center, and Griffith said the VMT would be politically easier, but financially unfair to EV drivers.”

December 21

Gretchen Whitmer won’t boost gas taxes. But maybe a mileage tax for roads?

“A mileage tax could be more fair for EV owners, but it should be calibrated to ensure it does not benefit people with gas guzzlers, which has been a problematic flaw of the Oregon program, said Charles Griffith, a clean energy expert with the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center.”

Bridge Michigan
December 28

Ann Arbor’s new ‘samurai sorting robot’ is a plastics recycling game-changer

“This is a big, exciting deal — our new robot is a technological marvel that’s going to be a game-changer for how we can more safely recycle certain types of plastics in greater amounts and with more efficiency than we’ve ever previously experienced,” said Ukena, the CEO of Recycle Ann Arbor (RAA), a nationally acclaimed nonprofit credited with creating Michigan’s first curbside recycling program in 1978.”



Date Title Publication
July 16

Community Leaders Launch Coalition To Fight PFAS Contamination

The Great Lakes PFAS Action Network, a group of community members impacted by the toxic chemical PFAS, are unifying to promote action on PFAS contamination.”

Michigan Advance
July 16

Great Lakes PFAS Action Network Launches Community Coalition

Great Lakes PFAS Action Network Co-Chair, Tony Spaniola, says their coalition want to hold policy makers accountable for the work needed to fix the more than 11,000 possible contamination sites in the state.”

9&10 News
July 15

Local environmental groups form ‘PFAS Action’ coalition

“The new group is called the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network. Environmental advocates said by working together, they will be able to push for increased scrutiny of PFAS. The chemicals have been common in firefighting foams and some household products, and they’ve been linked to cancer and developmental problems.”

WCMU Radio 
July 16

Citizen led group to fight PFAS launches statewide

“‘PFAS contamination impacts people and communities across the Great Lakes Region,’ Great Lakes PFAS Action Network Co-chair Tony Spaniola said. ‘It’s a growing crisis the requires urgent action driven by those who know it best, the people who live with it and experience its consequences every day.’”

Up North Live
July 16

Local environmental groups form ‘PFAS Action’ coalition

“Spaniola said recognizing commonalities across communities with PFAS contamination could lead to stronger federal rules around the chemicals.”

Michigan Radio 
July 17

Michigan PFAS activists form network to advance policy agenda

“On Thursday, July 15, activists announced the creation of the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network (GLPAN) to advocate for environmental response and cleanup policies that put community concerns at the forefront of state and federal actions.”

August 6

Biden and Automakers Agree on 50% EVs by 2030—Are the Regulations Tough Enough?

Charles Griffith, climate and energy program director for the Ecology Center in Michigan, said the new direction ‘will go a long way toward putting us on a path to address the climate challenge. However, the proposed standards must not be watered down and even stronger long-term emission standards will be needed to get us the rest of the way.’”

August 24

Environmental groups issue report, 'setting the record straight' about PFAS contamination

“Those two groups and other environmental organizations have joined together to elevate the awareness of the PFAS contamination around the former Air Force base and other sites across Michigan. The Great Lakes PFAS Action Network is demanding better action by the government to clean up the toxic chemicals.”

Michigan Radio 
August 24

Bus tour gives Oscoda residents a look at where PFAS contamination happened

PFAS are linked to certain types of cancer and other health problems, but organizers with a local environmental advocacy group called Need Our Water said many people who live near here have never actually seen where the chemicals were used.”

WCMU Radio
August 25

Advocates criticize Michigan, Air Force on PFAS during tour of old Wurtsmith AFB

“The advocates scoped out the most heavily polluted spots on the former military base before they launched their collective allegations that military and state bureaucrats failed to prioritize public health ahead of government protocol.”

Traverse City Record Eagle
September 28

The race to replace persistent chemicals in our homes

“EU countries have restricted certain types and uses of PFAS. But environmental campaigners and certain European governments are calling for PFAS to be regulated as a group. They also want manufacturers to supply more information about what alternatives they're using. Taking a piecemeal approach is too slow and allows for too many harmful substitutions, they argue.”

October 12

'Growing crisis': Michigan activists share PFAS action plan

“Leaders from communities impacted by PFAS contamination held a virtual press conference to unveil the Great Lakes PFAS Action Network’s (GLPAN) PFAS Action Agenda, an outline of policy priorities to address PFAS in Michigan and protect impacted people and communities.”

October 25

The modern environmental movement has roots in A2 where the Ecology Center celebrates its 51st year

“Here in Washtenaw County and in Michigan, the Ecology Center’s work has created the first recycling program in the country, created protections for workers and communities from toxic chemicals. We’ve shut down incinerators and made a whole lot of changes that are better for the environment.” - Michael Garfield, Director of the Ecology Center

October 26

Ecology Center celebrates 50 years in Ann Arbor 

The Ecology Center was founded in 1970 after student activists organized an environmental teach-in at the University of Michigan. Since then, the Ecology Center has been developing creative solutions for environmental challenges that put people and the Earth at risk.”

October 26

‘Filter first’ school water bills get warm bipartisan reception at Senate hearing

“Rebecca Meuninck, deputy director of the Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, reiterated VanderWall’s and Ananich’s remarks that neither testing nor pipe replacement are necessarily the best way to get out ahead of a lead problem. ‘The only way to really protect our kids [is] to provide them with safe, filtered drinking water,’ Meuninck said, as lead is still allowed in plumbing appliances at very low.”

Michigan Advance
October 27

Michigan to stop buying most products made with PFAS chemicals

“Environmental groups praised the directive. The Ann Arbor-based Ecology Center, which advocates for such policies, said the move sets a ‘national precedent’ among states due its broad application across all products, including packaging.”

October 27

Governor Whitmer limits state purchases of PFAS-laced products with new executive directive

“‘Today Governor Whitmer took bold action to use the purchasing power of the State to prevent PFAS exposure,’ said Rebecca Meuninck, deputy director of the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor. ‘Other states and municipalities have begun creating procurement policies and purchasing specifications related to PFAS in products but none are as broad as Michigan’s new directive that includes all product categories.’”

Fox 17
October 28

State of Michigan to avoid buying products containing PFAS

The Ecology Center noted the state’s move to avoid purchasing products containing PFAS can help smaller entities such as municipalities, businesses, and others ‘create more demand in the marketplace for environmentally preferable products.’”

October 29

Whitmer bans state government from purchasing products containing PFAS

“Whitmer’s action was commended widely by environmental and health groups, including the Ecology Center, the Safer States coalition, Great Lakes PFAS Action Network and Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), some of which noted that they hope it will set a precedent for other states to follow suit.”

Michigan Advance
November 2

EPA Orders Benton Harbor, Michigan to Protect Residents from Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water

“Last month, the State of Michigan began delivering bottled water to Benton Harbor, after issuing an advisory that residents not use tap water for ‘cooking, drinking, brushing teeth, and mixing powdered infant formula.’ In September, a group of 20 Michigan and national organizations filed an emergency petition with the EPA to secure a free source of safe drinking water for Benton Harbor’s nearly 10,000 residents, among other requests including full removal of the nearly 6,000 lead service lines delivering water to homes.”

November 2

State of Michigan to avoid buying products containing PFAS

“The State of Michigan is going to stop buying most non-essential products containing PFAS. Governor Gretchen Whitmer is ordering state agencies to avoid buying products containing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) if possible.”

Great Lakes Now
November 2

Michigan Coalition Urges Investment in EV Infrastructure

A coalition of nonprofits and businesses on Monday called upon the state legislature to invest $600 million for electric-vehicle and alternative fuel infrastructure, workforce training and site preparation to preserve Michigan's mobility leadership.”

Government Tech
November 25

Ann Arbor opening new recycling plant. Here’s what not to put in curbside bins.

“‘We are excited to report the project is nearly complete,’ said Erica Bertram, Recycle Ann Arbor communications director. ‘The equipment is operational, and we have just completed the testing to ensure that it works as envisioned.’”

November 26

Advocates push ban of chemicals in food packaging

“Whether these chemicals are released into food depends on the temperature, time of storage and the acidity of food, said Rebecca Meuninck, the deputy director of the Ecology Center.”

Great Lakes Echo
November 26

Wayne State students' Fresh Rx program delivers produce to people in need

“The Detroit-wide program initially began in 2013 as a partnership between the CHASS center in southwest Detroit and the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor. Since launching, Fresh RX has helped more than 1,000 participants and distributed over $50,000 in free produce to qualifying patients around Detroit.  In its first 3 years, the WSUSOM Fresh Rx site, specifically, has served nearly 100 patients and hopes to expand the number of participants.”

Detroit News
December 7

Michigan MRF starts back up this month

“‘The new MRF will be a model for anchoring effective recycling programs and systems, in addition to adding much needed recycling capacity for Southeast Michigan,’ said Bryan Ukena, CEO of MRF operator Recycle Ann Arbor, in a statement to Resource Recycling.”

Resource Recycling
December 8

100+ organizations to REI: Lead the outdoor industry away from PFAS

“Today a group of more than 100 local, state, and national organizations sent a letter to REI’s CEO Eric Artz calling on the company to lead the outdoor apparel industry in a bold transition away from the entire class of toxic PFAS ‘forever chemicals.’ PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are often used for water-repellent, stain-resistant, and grease-proofing treatments on textiles like outdoor gear.”

Safer Chemicals
December 8

Ypsilanti will again collect glass in curbside recycling. Here’s what else is changing

“On Tuesday, Dec. 7, Ypsilanti’s City Council voted unanimously to authorize an agreement between the city and Recycle Ann Arbor, a 44-year-old nonprofit that this year completed upgrades to a transform a dormant recycling plant in Pittsfield Township into a state-of-the-art facility.”

December 13

Here’s Recycle Ann Arbor’s guide on reducing your holiday waste

“If you must use paper, buy it from a thrift store or reuse intact previously used wrapping paper. Make sure to recycle any non-metallic paper or any paper gift bags that you can’t use again.”

December 17

Environmental groups reach settlement on Detroit incinerator

“‘It was important for us to make sure local residents that lived with the odor and air pollution the incinerator generated get some direct remedy,’ said Kathryn Savoie, Ecology Center’s Detroit community health director. ‘We’re hopeful the $10,000 donation to Arboretum Detroit will support the community in healing the environmental harms they have been subjected to.’”

Michigan Advance