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State health officials are looking for more participants for Oscoda PFAS study

A map of the area in Oscoda Township surrounding the now closed Wurtsmith Air Force Base is shown. The red area is the base, while the area outlined in yellow is considered the affected area.
Courtesy of District Health Department No. 2

A state study of PFAS exposure near the former Wurtsmith Air Force base is looking for more participants.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services began recruiting local residents in September for its Oscoda Area Exposure Assessment. But it still needs more.

The assessment involves testing samples from adults and adolescents for the presence of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Adult participants will receive blood and urine testing for 197 chemicals including 45 kinds of PFAS. Adolescent participants [12 to 17 years old] will receive blood testing for 45 PFAS types.

PFAS are a family of industrial chemicals that have been linked to cancer and other human health problems.

Oscoda has become a focal point for PFAS research due to high volumes of the chemicals in local ground water. For decades, PFAS-infused firefighting foam was used during training at the former air force base.

The Oscoda study is being conducted in association with the biomonitoring surveillance program, Michigan Chemical Exposure Monitoring project.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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