Living with PFAS Interviews

Defenseless but Fighting: A Personal Battle with PFAS and Infertility

Personal essay by Bryan Goodman discussing the impact of PFAS on his family and fertility.
Stacey Gardner, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Stacy Gardner moved to the Plainfield Township area, north of Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2015 after completing her military service. In the interview, she discusses the fairly low PFAS levels found in the well water at her home.
Sandy Wynn-Stelt, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Sandy Wynn-Stelt moved to Belmont, Michigan in 1992 with her husband Joel. In the interview she discusses her husband's death from liver cancer and the presence of high levels of PFAS in their water. Sandy is now an activist working through legal and…
Elaine Isely, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Elaine Isely is the Director of Water Programs at the West Michigan Environmental Action Council (WMEAC). She grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, but has been a resident of Grand Rapids for more than 20 years. In her interview she discusses …
Jon Miner, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Jon Miner has lived in the Rockford, Michigan area since 1991, and is on the Rockford Planning Commission. In his interview, he discusses living near the Wolverine Worldwide factory and worrying about contamination of the local environment by tannery…
Lance Climie, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Lance Climie has lived in Plainfield Township, near Deenly, Michigan for nearly all his life. In his interview, he discusses his family history as fruit farmers and how Wolverien offered to spread free fertilizer, or "sludge" on the fields. Only…
A.J. Birkbeck, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

A.J. Birbeck is an environmental attorney based in Chicago, but originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. In his interview, he discusses the lack of information available to the public about PFAS and his work in communities with large contaminations,…
Winnie Brinks, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Michigan State Senator Winnie Brinks currently resides in Grand Rapids, Michigan but was born and raised in Washington. In this interview, Brinks discusses her role in advocating on behalf of her consituents for clean water and a healthy environment…
Peggy Merrill, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Peggy Merrill moved to the Grand Rapids area since the 1990s. In this interview, she discusses the discovery of PFAS in the water at the home of her brother, who passed away from liver cancer in 2017.
Beth Markesino, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Beth Markesino lives in Wilmington, North Carolina and is an avid runner. In her interview, she discusses the impact PFAS contamination has had on her life and health, and that of her son Samuel.
Tobyn McNaughton, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Tobyn McNaughton was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Michigan and now lives in Belmont, Michigan. In this interview, Tobyn discusses how the McNaughton family learned about the PFAS present in their home's well water in 2017 and the impact it has…
Loreen Hackett, 2021 (Interview video and transcript)

Loreen Hacket lives in Hoosick Falls, New York. Loreen learned of the PFAS contamination in the area in 2014 and soon linked her own health problems to it. The PFAS in Hoosick Falls has been linked to Teflon, which opened its first factory in the…

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Living with PFAS Interviews


Devasto, Danielle


The Living with PFAS interviews were recorded during 2021 to gather the personal stories of individuals impacted by PFAS contamination. PFAS, or per- and polyflourinated substances, are a group of chemicals used to make coatings and products resistant to heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. These products include clothing, furniture, adhesives, food packaging, and heat-resistant non-stick cooking surfaces. They are considered "forever chemicals" in that they do not break down in the environment, can move through soils and contaminate drinking water sources, and they build up in fish, wildlife, and in the human body. Studies have shown that exposure to large amounts of PFAS may affect growth and development, reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, and may injure the liver. More research is needed to assess the full health effects of exposure to PFAS.




Living with PFAS (project)


In copyright


Oral history
Personal narrative
PFAs (Perfluorinated chemicals)


Grand Valley State University. University Libraries. Special Collections & University Archives






Motion Picture