FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 18, 2019
MDHHS and DNR remind hunters about ‘Do Not Eat’ Deer Advisory near Oscoda marsh
Five-mile advisory area refined in 2019, updated map available online
LANSING, Mich. – With archery hunting season beginning Oct. 1, the Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Natural Resources (DNR) are reminding hunters of the ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township due to PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid). PFOS is the most common PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) that bioaccumulates in fish and wild game.
The Do Not Eat advisory was initially issued in 2018 due to high levels of PFOS analyzed in the venison from one deer of several taken from the area near Clark’s Marsh, which borders the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base.
In 2019, the area covered by the advisory was refined to use section boundaries instead of road boundaries, more closely approximating the five-mile radius around Clark’s Marsh. DNR has estimated five miles to be the expected travel range of deer living in or near the marsh. Signs will be posted to inform hunters of the advisory area. An online map of the advisory area and answers to some frequently asked questions are currently available at Michigan.gov/PFASResponse; select the Fish and Wildlife button.
Due to the potential risk of harvesting a contaminated deer in this area, MDHHS advises that no deer that came from within five miles of Clark’s Marsh should be eaten. The advisory does not apply to cattle, chickens or other livestock raised in the area. In addition to the Clark’s Marsh deer advisory, MDHHS recommends no one eat organs from any fish or deer in the state because many chemicals, including PFAS, can accumulate in their organs.
MDHHS and the DNR intend to harvest and analyze additional deer from the area in 2020. Statewide assessments of PFAS in other wildlife, such as turkey and waterfowl, are also being planned.
Some health studies have linked PFAS to health issues 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.
A deer that has been exposed to PFAS is not likely to show any signs or symptoms of being ill. If you see a deer that appears to be sick, contact the DNR hotline at 800-292-7800. If you have health-related questions about consuming deer or the health risks of PFAS, contact MDHHS at 800-648-6942.
For more information about PFAS in wild game and fish, visit Michigan.gov/PFASResponse and select the Fish and Wildlife button. For more information about wild game consumption, visit Michigan.gov/EatSafeGame and select the Eat Safe Wild Game button.
'Do Not Eat' Advisory Issued for Deer Taken in Oscoda Township
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 19, 2018
MDHHS Contact: Angela Minicuci, 517-241-2112
DNR Contact: Tammy Newcomb, 517-284-5832
'Do Not Eat' Advisory Issued for Deer Taken within five miles of Clark's Marsh, Oscoda Township
The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Natural Resources (DNR) today issued a 'Do Not Eat' advisory for deer taken within approximately five miles of Clark's Marsh in Oscoda Township. The advisory is due to high levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) found in a single deer taken about two miles from Clark's Marsh, which borders the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. PFOS is one type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemical.
One deer out of twenty tested around the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base was found to have high levels of PFOS. The level of PFOS in the muscle of the deer was 547 parts per billion, exceeding the level of 300 ppb at which action is recommended. PFAS was either not found or was at low levels in muscle samples from the other 19 deer. Although only one deer of this group tested at such high levels, the advisory was issued to protect the health of anyone eating venison taken within approximately five miles of Clark's Marsh. The state has plans to test more deer from this area.
DNR also collected an additional 60 deer for PFAS testing this year as part of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team's work on this emerging contaminant. In addition to the testing around Wurtsmith, 20 deer were taken from near each of the PFAS investigation sites in Alpena, Rockford and Grayling with known contamination in lakes and rivers. The deer meat tested from these areas was found to have no PFAS or very low levels of the chemical. An additional 48 samples of deer muscle from the 2017 hunting season were tested from other areas across the state. Preliminary data for these deer also show no PFAS contamination or very low levels of the chemical.
PFAS are chemicals that are in Class B fire-fighting foam that was used at the air force base near Wurtsmith and other sites in Michigan. These chemicals are also found in stain and water repellants, personal care products, and many other consumer goods. Some health studies have linked PFAS to health issues 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.
MDNR and MDHHS developed this investigation in response to questions from hunters concerned about harvesting deer in contaminated areas. This is the first study of its kind and very little scientific information exists on whitetail deer and PFAS chemicals.
For more information, please see the full release from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
For more information about PFAS in Michigan, visit Michigan.gov/pfasresponse.