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In recent months, the State of Michigan has found several places where drinking water and fish are contaminated by a class of chemicals called PFAS, or poly and perfluoroalkyl substances.PFAS is a family of chemicals that can be found in all sorts of products. But what are the lingering effects of PFAS on our health and the environment?

'Do Not Eat' deer advisory issued after PFAS contamination

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio

State agencies in Michigan have issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer in Oscoda Township near the closed Wurtsmith Air Force Base.

The state tested deer tissue from areas across the state known to have PFAS chemical contamination, including places such as Grayling, Rockford, and Oscoda Township.

Of 20 deer tissue samples tested in the Oscoda area, one came back with higher levels of PFOS, one of thousands of variations of PFAS chemicals. A deer taken at Clark’s Marsh near the air base exceeded what the state considers safe levels. Angela Minicucci with the Department of Health and Human Services indicated a risk level has not been set for deer.

“So, we used that same level that we had in place for fish and ‘Do Not Eat’ fish advisories to analyze the deer results that we got back,” she said.

If fish reach 300 parts per billion of PFAS, a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory is put in place. The deer was contaminated with 547 parts per billion of PFOS.

The state’s advisory covers a limited area.

“We issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer from within five miles around Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township,” Minicuci said.

Fish from Clark’s Marsh have also been found to have high levels of PFAS chemicals.

This week the state issued a second violation notice to the Air Force because it has been slow in cleaning up PFAS contamination in ground water at Wurtsmith.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Public from 1998-2010.
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