Do Not Eat Advisory Issued
On October 19th, 2018, the Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer taken within approximately five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township. The affected area borders the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base and the reason for the order was due to high levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) found in the meat of a deer.
PFOS and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are chemicals that are in Class B fire-fighting foam as well as in stain and water repellents, personal care products and many other consumer goods. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, studies have linked these chemicals to health problems such as thyroid disease, increased cholesterol levels, impaired immune system function, reproductive issues, high blood pressure in pregnant women, and increased chance of kidney and testicular cancers.
Of the 20 deer in this area tested, 1 was found to have tested 547 parts per billion, which is well above the 300 parts per billion that calls for action to be taken. It is not know why the levels are so high in this one deer but the State of Michigan will be investigating further. The remaining 19 deer had levels that were low or non-existent. The advisory covers a 5 mile radius around the former base because this is the estimated travel distance for the deer.
Though it is important to adhere to this advisory, it is also important to note that the this level of contamination appears to be an isolated event. Additional testing has been done around other known PFAS contamination sites in Alpena, Rockford and Grayling. The results there show that deer taken from these area have very low or no PFAS levels in the meat. Preliminary data from the 48 samples taken in the 2017 hunting season show no to very low levels as well.
The State of Michigan has provided a map showing the advisory area which you can view here.
If you have health related questions please contact MDHHS at 1-800-648-6942. Hunters can contact the MDNR at 517-284-6057 or DNR-CustomerService@michigan.gov for information about deer tags that were used in this region.