Identifying and avoiding PFAS

Health News

As the weather warms up, the Michigan Department of Health and Humans Services issues a reminder that everyone should avoid foam on Michigan lakes and rivers known to have PFAS.

Foam on these bodies of water can be a health risk and health advisories have been issued on Van Etten Lake, Lake Margrehte, Rogue River, Thornapple River and Huron River.

Although swallowing PFAS is the main way to get it in your body, an accidental swallow of river or lake water is not a health concern because the amount of PFAS is typically low compared to the foam. 

Although there is naturally occurring foam in the water it is usually off-white or brown in color and may have an earthy or fish smell. PFAS foam can be bright white, sticky, is usually lightweight, and tends to pile up like shaving cream.

According to MDHHS, current science indicates PFAS does not move easily through the skin, but it’s best to rinse off foam after contact and take a shower after the day’s outdoor activities.

Additionally, the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development recommends that people not allow their animals, especially dogs, to come into contact with or swallow the foam.

Dogs and other animals can potentially swallow foam collected in their fur when grooming themselves and should be thoroughly rinsed off with fresh water after contact with foamy water.

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