Hunters traveling to northern Michigan should be aware that a 'Do Not Eat' order has been issued for deer in an area of Iosca County due to PFAS. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the advisory issued Friday is 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.

Oscoda Township (Google Images)

Of twenty deer that were tested near the old base, one was found to have high levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) which is one type of PFAS. The level in the muscle of the deer was 547 parts per billion, which far exceeded the 300 ppb level at which action is recommended. PFAS was either not found or was at low levels in muscle samples from the other 19 deer.

Iosco County Advisory area (Michigan DNR)

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. In addition to the testing around Wurtsmith, 20 deer were taken from 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.

In Michigan, to date, only fish and deer have been sampled for PFAS. For more information about PFAS in wild game and fish CLICK HERE and go to the Fish and Wildlife button.