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.
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