State: Don't eat Huron River fish in 5 counties
Michigan health officials are expanding a do-not-eat advisory to all fish from the Huron River in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne and Monroe counties after state authorities say testing found toxins in fish in more locations, officials announced Friday.
The original advisory was issued Aug. 4. It now covers an area starting where North Wixom Road crosses in Oakland County and extends downstream to the mouth of the Huron River as it enters Lake Erie in Wayne County, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services said.
That includes Norton Creek, Hubbell/Mill Pond and Kent Lake in Oakland County; Ore, Strawberry, Zukey, Gallagher, Loon and Whitewood lakes in Livingston County; Base Line and Portage lakes at the Livingston/Washtenaw County line; Barton, Geddes and Argo ponds as well as Ford Lake in Washtenaw; and Belleville Lake in Wayne.
The extension follows new data from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality analyzing perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS.
“Base Line Lake and Argo Pond fish fillet data, downsteam from Kent Lake, were found to have high PFOS levels,” state officials said Friday. “Additionally, high PFOS surface water levels were found upstream of Kent Lake.”
PFOS are among a group of chemicals used worldwide during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and common household as well as other consumer products.
Environmentalists have raised concerns about addressing the chemicals in communities’ drinking water supplies and called for stricter standards to lower Michigan's health advisory level.
Their call for changes to the state’s contaminant threshold comes shortly after the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality announced it is nearly halfway through testing Michigan’s 1,841 public water systems and schools with their own wells.
After the water supply for the city of Parchment and neighboring Cooper Township in Kalamazoo County was recently found to have 1,587 parts per trillion of PFAS, a class of chemicals that includes PFOS's, the communities were placed under a state of emergency. Officials warned residents not to drink the water or cook with it.
State health officials said touching the fish or water and swimming in the Huron River areas “is not considered a health concern as PFAS do not move easily through the skin. An occasional swallow of river or lake water is also not considered a health concern.”