A ‘Do Not Eat’ fish advisory has been expanded for the Huron River, now stretching all the way to Lake Erie.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services issued the expanded advisory for all fish in the Huron River in Livingston, Oakland, Washtenaw, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. Testing has detected per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances - known PFAS and PFOS chemicals. MDHHS Spokeswoman Angela Minicuci tells WHMI the advisory for the Huron River starts where North Wixom Road crosses in Oakland County and extends all the way down to Lake Erie in Wayne County. The advisory includes:

Norton Creek (Oakland County)
Hubbell Pond, also known as Mill Pond (Oakland County)
Kent Lake (Oakland County)
Ore Lake (Livingston County)
Strawberry & Zukey Lake (Livingston County)
Gallagher Lake (Livingston County)
Loon Lake (Livingston County)
Whitewood Lakes (Livingston County)
Base Line & Portage Lakes (Livingston/Washtenaw County line)
Barton Pond (Washtenaw County)
Geddes Pond (Washtenaw County)
Argo Pond (Washtenaw County)
Ford Lake (Washtenaw County)
Bellville Lake (Wayne County)

The “do not eat” fish advisory was originally issued for a portion of the Huron River on August 4th. Last week, Minicuci says they received additional surface water data which indicated high levels of P-FOS, so a further fish advisory was issued. Then this week, she says they received data from additional fish sampling that indicated high levels of PFOS in additional water bodies, which resulted in the extension. Fish fillet data from Base Line Lake on the Livingston/Washtenaw County line and Argo Pond located downstream from Kent Lake were found to have high PFOS levels. Additionally, high PFOS surface water levels were found upstream of Kent Lake.

Minicuci says they’re recommending that no fish from that river be consumed, noting the big concern with PFAS chemicals is when they are ingested. She stresses they don’t have any concerns about swimming or other recreation but rather ingesting and swallowing the water on a regular basis. She says an occasional swallow of river or lake water is not considered a health concernShe says if someone is in the river and gets some in their mouth, it’s not a concern – it’s really when it’s being used as a drinking source that’s of concern.

Minicuci says it’s hard to say how long the chemicals have been in the water or fish, without having more information about a source. Minicuci says a lot of the science around what types of health impacts might be associated with PFAS are pretty minimal. However, there have been some associations with thyroid issues and increased risks of cancer, such as prostate cancer. She says it’s more of a long term concern and they recommend that anyone with concerns talk to their health care provider.

Minicuci says they recommend that any time someone is going fishing that they check their local guidelines to see what type of recommendations may be in place, which is a good rule of thumb any time someone plans to consume the fish they catch. She notes the advisory will continue to evolve as more data is received. More information is available through the link. (JM)