MDCH Hosts Community Meeting about "Do Not Eat" Fish Advisory for Clark's Marsh

Contact: Angela Minicuci 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: January 28, 2014

MDCH Hosts Community Meeting about "Do Not Eat" Fish Advisory for Clark's Marsh

LANSING – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) will hold an open house followed by a community meeting in Oscoda on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2014, to update the public about the “do not eat” advisory issued in May 2012 for all fish caught in Clark’s Marsh, near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, and non-migratory fish caught in the lower Au Sable River.

The meeting and open house will be held at the Oscoda Township Conference Center located at 208 South State Street (US-23) in Oscoda, Mich. The open house will run from 2:30-4:30 p.m., and the community meeting will take place from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

In May 2012, MDCH determined the levels of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) in fish sampled from ponds in Clark’s Marsh were unsafe for human health and immediately issued an advisory warning people not to eat any fish from the marsh. MDCH also recommended that people not eat fish that live year-round in the lower Au Sable River, such as perch, bass and panfish. Migratory fish that enter the river from Lake Huron, such as walleye, salmon and trout, are not expected to have high levels of PFCs.

MDCH has been evaluating additional fish data from the area and reviewing information about PFCs. PFCs are chemicals that are used in fire-fighting foams, non-stick ("Teflon") manufacturing, electroplating, and textiles. They are of concern because they are persistent in the environment and the food chain and can result in health hazards to humans. The only known site of PFC contamination in Michigan is the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base in Oscoda.

MDCH is working with the Air Force Civil Engineer Center, various partner agencies and local leadership to protect the public’s health and ensure protection of the environment. The open house and community meeting will update the Oscoda community regarding the contamination and what is being done about it. 

MDCH has other guidelines for eating fish from Oscoda-area waterbodies, based on chemicals that are found in those fish. These guidelines are available at www.michigan.gov/eatsafefish.

For more information about public health activities at the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, visit www.michigan.gov/mdch-toxics and look for the (Former) Wurtsmith Air Force link under “Health Assessments and Related Documents.” 

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