Read the full article by Jenny Haglund (Iosco County News Herald)

“OSCODA – Of the sites in Oscoda Township contaminated by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), Clark’s Marsh has been referred to as a ‘hot spot’ for several years. Purdue University has been studying this particular location, and an update on their efforts was shared during a virtual community meeting Oct. 20, hosted by the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team (MPART).

Among the MPART representatives on hand, were those from the Michigan departments of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE); Natural Resources (MDNR); and Health and Human Services (MDHHS). The purpose was to provide the latest information from these and additional agencies, regarding the environmental investigations at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base (WAFB) and other Oscoda areas.

As reported, PFAS-containing aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) was used by the U.S. Air Force (USAF) at WAFB – which closed in 1993 – beginning in the 1970s. Along with groundwater contamination, this has also resulted in the issuance of several health advisories in the area.

According to one of the speakers at the meeting, MDHHS Toxicologist Puneet Vij, studies show that some PFAS are linked to such adverse health effects in humans as lowering a woman’s chance of getting pregnant; increasing the chance of high blood pressure in pregnant women; increasing the chance of thyroid disease; increasing cholesterol levels; changes in immune response; and increasing the chances of cancer, especially kidney and testicular.

As for one of the highest contaminated areas in Oscoda, Vij also reminded meeting goers of the advisories pertaining to Clark’s Marsh. He said that MDHHS issued an emergency Do Not Eat Fish public health advisory in 2012, for all fish taken from the marsh. This was due to high levels of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) – one of thousands of different types of PFAS – that were found in fish there.

Vij noted that this advisory is still in effect, as is the Do Not Eat public health advisory which MDHHS issued in the fall of 2018, for deer taken within a five-mile radius of Clark’s Marsh.

More recently, in December 2019, MDHHS put out a Do Not Eat advisory for all resident aquatic and semi-aquatic wildlife taken from the marsh.

Vij says the catch-and-release of fish is fine. But the department also recommends that no one eat the organs of any fish, deer or other wild game from this spot since many chemicals, including PFAS, can accumulate in the organs…”