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Tag Archive | "Dr. Joneigh Khaldun"

MDHHS recommends Michiganders avoid foam on lakes and rivers

PFAS foam in Rogue River, at Rockford, on April 6, 2018. Photo taken by AECOM during the sampling event.

As the summer months approach, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is issuing its annual recommendation that Michiganders should avoid contact with foam they may see on Michigan waterbodies such as lakes, rivers and streams.

The foam may have unknown chemicals or bacteria in them, so it is recommended to avoid contact. Foam can form on any waterbody, but foam on some waterbodies may have high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS-containing foam tends to be bright white in color, is often lightweight and may pile up like shaving cream on shorelines or blow onto beaches.

Naturally occurring foam without PFAS tends to pile up in bays, eddies or at river barriers such as dams. Naturally occurring foam is typically off-white and/or brown in color and often has an earthy or fishy scent.

If contact with foam is made, care should be taken to rinse or wash it off as soon as possible, particularly if PFAS contamination is suspected in the waterbody. The longer that foam remains on the skin, the greater the chance of accidentally swallowing the foam or the foam residue left behind.

“Although current science shows that the risk of PFAS getting into your system from contact with skin is low, you can minimize exposure to PFAS by rinsing or showering after you are done with your recreational activities,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS. “In general, washing hands and rinsing off after recreating will help to protect people from chemicals and bacteria that may be in waterbodies.”

PFAS are emerging contaminants, and the state is working to identify all waterbodies that have been affected. Health advisories have been issued for specific waterbodies where PFAS-containing foam has been found in the past. These specific advisories can be found in the “PFAS Foam on Lakes and Streams” section of Michigan.gov/PFASResponse, under “Testing.” MDHHS continues to evaluate surface water and foam data as it is available and will issue future advisories as needed.

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Recommendations to vote safely during COVID-19

Recommendations to vote safely during COVID-19

LANSING, Mich. –To ensure Michigan voters remain healthy and reduce the spread of COVID-19 during the Nov. 3 general election, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has released recommendations for voters, poll workers and election officials.

“This guidance allows Michiganders to carry out their right to vote while doing it safely during the pandemic,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “I encourage registered voters to consider voting alternatives to limit the number of people they come in contact with and to help reduce the spread of the virus.”

“Michigan citizens can cast their ballots safely and with confidence in this election,” said Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. “All election workers are required to wear masks and all voters are strongly encouraged to do so. Voters who already have absentee ballots can drop them off at their city or township clerk’s office or ballot drop box. Voters can also go to their local clerk’s office through Nov. 2 to vote early by requesting and submitting an absentee ballot.”

All registered voters may vote early by visiting their city or township clerk’s office through Nov. 2. There they can request, fill out and submit an absentee ballot all in one trip, or take their ballot home to fill out and sign the envelope before returning it to one of their jurisdiction’s ballot drop boxes by 8 p.m. on Nov 3. Election workers, who are required to wear masks, will ask voters to show photo ID.

Eligible citizens who are not yet registered may register, request and submit an absentee ballot at their local clerk’s office through 8 p.m. on Nov. 3

When you vote or return your ballot, practice healthy behaviors to protect yourself and slow the spread of the virus. These behaviors include:

  • Wearing a mask that covers your mouth and nose.
  • Washing hands before entering and after leaving the polling location.
  • While in the polling location, frequently use alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol.
  • Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
  • Maintain at least 6 feet (about two arms’ length) of distance from others.

If you are sick or concerned you have been exposed to COVID-19, seek medical care. If you don’t have an absentee ballot, contact your local election office for guidance about voting options.

Guidance is based on the most current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and MDHHS recommendations for prevention of the spread of COVID-19. Read the “Recommendations for Healthy Voting in Michigan” for more helpful tips for voting this year.


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Reminder: Do not eat wildlife taken near Oscoda Township marsh due to PFAS contamination

Do Not Eat advisories in effect for deer, fish, other wildlife near Clark’s Marsh

With archery hunting season underway and the firearms season starting on Nov. 15, the Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Natural Resources (DNR) are reminding hunters not to eat venison from deer taken within five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township in Iosco County. A Do Not Eat deer advisory remains in effect due to evidence the deer may be contaminated with PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid), a type of PFAS.

In addition, due to evidence that indicates Clark’s Marsh is highly contaminated with PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), MDHHS recommends a Do Not Eat advisory for all fish and wildlife taken for consumption from the marsh. This includes fish, aquatic and semi-aquatic mammals (including muskrats), amphibians (including frogs), mollusks (including snails), reptiles (including turtles) and arthropods (including crayfish).

“These advisories have been issued to protect Michiganders from PFAS as this chemical has been shown to cause damage to immune and reproductive systems, raise cholesterol levels and increase chances of cancers, such as kidney and testicular cancers,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health.

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 a Do Not Eat resident aquatic and semi-aquatic wildlife advisory in 2019. All remain in effect today.

The health advisory for deer was issued in 2018 due to high levels of PFOS analyzed in the venison from one deer of several taken from the area near Clark’s Marsh, which borders the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. PFOS is the most common PFAS that bioaccumulates in fish and wild game.

In 2019, the geographic area covered by the deer advisory was updated using section boundaries instead of road boundaries, which more closely delineates a five-mile radius around Clark’s Marsh. DNR has estimated five miles to be the expected travel range of deer living in or near the marsh. Signs are posted to inform hunters of the advisory area.

An online map of the advisory area and answers to some frequently asked questions are currently available at Michigan.gov/PFASResponse under the Fish and Wildlife button.

Due to the potential health risk of eating a contaminated deer in this area, MDHHS advises that no deer that came from within five miles of Clark’s Marsh should be eaten. The advisory does not apply to cattle, chickens or other livestock raised in the area. In addition, MDHHS recommends no one eat organs from any fish, deer or other wild game in the state because many chemicals, including PFAS, can accumulate in their organs.

MDHHS and the DNR collected additional deer from the area in 2020. Statewide assessments of PFAS in other wildlife, such as turkey and waterfowl, are also being planned. Wildlife that has been exposed to PFAS may not show any signs of being ill. If you see a deer that appears to be sick, contact the DNR hotline at 800-292-7800.

If you have health questions about eating deer or other wildlife, or about the health risks associated with PFAS, contact MDHHS at 800-648-6942.

For more information about PFAS in wild game and fish, visit Michigan.gov/PFASResponse and select the Fish and Wildlife button. For more information about wild game consumption, visit Michigan.gov/EatSafeGame and select the Eat Safe Wild Game button.

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