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MDHHS reminds hunters of Do Not Eat health advisories for Clark's Marsh

LANSING, Mich. – With firearms hunting season now underway, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) are reminding hunters not to eat venison from deer taken within three miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township in Iosco County.

A Do Not Eat deer advisory remains in effect due to evidence that deer living within three miles of the marsh were more likely to have various per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), including PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), in their liver and muscle tissue. The finding is included in the 2021 report PFAS levels in Michigan deer from the Oscoda area, Iosco County.

In addition, a Do Not Eat advisory for all fish and aquatic or semi-aquatic wildlife taken from Clark’s Marsh remains in place. This includes fish, aquatic and semi-aquatic mammals (including muskrats), amphibians (including frogs), mollusks (including snails), reptiles (including turtles) and arthropods (including crayfish).

“These guidelines are intended to protect the health of Michiganders,” said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, chief medical executive. “PFAS are associated with several negative health effects, such as reduced fertility, liver damage, high cholesterol and development of certain types of cancer, specifically kidney and testicular cancers.”

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 again in 2021. The 2021 update shrank the five-mile advisory area to a three-mile advisory area.
  • A Do Not Eat resident aquatic and semi-aquatic wildlife advisory in 2019.

map of the Do Not Eat deer advisory area is located online.

In addition, MDHHS continues to recommend that people do not eat organs from any fish, deer, or other wild game in the state because many chemicals, including PFAS, can accumulate in the organs of wildlife.

For more information about PFAS, visit Michigan.gov/PFASResponse.

For more information about fish and wild game consumption, visit Michigan.gov/EatSafeFish.