The Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services and Natural resources are reminding hunters not to eat venison from deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township. A “Do Not Eat” advisory remains in effect due to evidence the deer may be contaminated with PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), a type of PFAS. Also, due to evidence that indicates Clark’s Marsh is highly contaminated with PFAs, MDHHS recommends a “Do Not Eat” advisory for all fish and wildlife taken for consumption from the marsh. This includes fish, aquatic and semi-aquatic mammals (including muskrats), amphibians (including frogs), mollusks (including snails), reptiles (including turtles) and arthropods (including crayfish).
“These advisories have been issued to protect Michiganders from PFAS as this chemical has been shown to cause damage to immune and reproductive systems, raise cholesterol levels and increase chances of cancers, such as kidney and testicular cancers,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.
Three separate health advisories have been issued in recent years for Clark’s Marsh: a Do Not Eat fish advisory in 2012, a Do Not Eat deer advisory in 2018 and updated in 2019, and a Do Not Eat resident aquatic and semi-aquatic wildlife advisory in 2019. All remain in effect today.
The health advisory for deer was 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. PFOS is the most common PFAS that bioaccumulates in fish and wild game.
In 2019, the geographic area covered by the deer advisory was updated using section boundaries instead of road boundaries, which more closely delineates a 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 are 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 under the Fish and Wildlife button.
Archery hunting season is underway, and the firearms season starts November 15.