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Do Not Eat: Hunters advised to avoid deer meat near Oscoda Township marsh

Archery deer hunting season begins Oct. 1 in Michigan.
Archery deer hunting season begins Oct. 1 in Michigan.
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 12:01 PM EDT
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OSCODA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - Hunters are being warned to avoid eating meat from deer taken around Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township for the third year.

The marsh near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base is contaminated with PFAS, which deer may have ingested by drinking the water or feeding on wildlife.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and Department of Natural Resources have established a Do Not Eat Advisory for deer covering an area five miles around Clark’s Marsh. The advisory also covers fish, crayfish, reptiles and other mammals in the marsh.

The advisory was put in place before the 2018 deer hunting season after meat samples from deer taken around the marsh showed high levels of PFAS, which likely cause cancer and other health conditions. Signs will be posted in the advisory area for hunters.

“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.

State health and wildlife officials took more deer from the area earlier this year to continue investigating the breadth of the contamination. Assessments of waterfowl and turkeys potentially exposed to PFAS are being planned.

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