PFAS Community Update: Deer Eating Advisories, Exposure Assessment, and Public Meeting in Kent County

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Deer Eating Advisory in Effect for Oscoda Township

Firearm hunting season is now underway, but PFAS contamination throughout Michigan has many hunters concerned that eating deer from contaminated areas will put them at greater risk of health issues. In Oscoda Township, residents have been advised against eating deer within a five-mile radius of Clark’s Marsh, a popular hunting spot located near Wurstsmith Air Force Base. In October, state officials conducting deer tests throughout Michigan found elevated levels of PFAS – approximately 547 parts per billion – in a deer near the base. Subsequent tests have found additional contaminated deer, prompting the advisory warning.

Officials established an advisory area for the region as follows: "From Lake Huron west along Aster Street, west on Davison Road, north on Brooks Road, east on Esmond Road, north on Old US 23, north on Wells Road, west on River Road, north on Federal Forest Road 2240, north on Lenard Road, north on Indian Road, and East on E. Kings Corner Road (along the county line) toward Lake to Lake Road, to Lake Huron."

Courtesy of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources

The state has taken samples from 128 deer across Michigan, including Alpena, Oscoda, Grayling, and Rockford. As of this writing, only deer near Clark’s Marsh have been subjected to an official advisory.

While hunters are being directed to avoid eating any deer caught within the 5-mile radius in Oscoda Township, the State of Michigan did confirm that the following three labs that would analyze tissue samples of deer caught outside the advisory zone for PFAS contamination:

It’s worth noting that the State of Michigan doesn’t endorse or recommend any laboratory, and any independent deer testing would be performed at the individual’s expense.

Kent County Launches PFAS Exposure Assessment Study

The Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Kent County Health Department (KCHD) are launching a PFAS Exposure Assessment later this month. Officials will be contacting households located within the Department of Environmental Quality’s investigation area that have previously tested positive for PFAS. This assessment, which includes blood testing, will give officials the chance to evaluate the relationship between drinking water containing PFAS and buildup in the human body. According to the available information, there is no way to volunteer to participate in the assessment, and not all residents who have tested positive for PFAS exposure will be selected to participate. The MDHHS will continue inviting eligible households to participate through Spring 2019.

PFAS Community Meeting to be Held November 27

In conjunction with the PFAS assessment study, the MDHHS and KCHD will be hosting a public community meeting on November 27 at Northview High School on Hunsberger Ave. NE beginning at 6:00 p.m. Officials from the MDHHS and KCHD will be on hand to present an overview of the assessment study, provide more information about eligibility, and answer questions from residents.