PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A television station has found that Michigan officials didn’t immediately inform residents about unsafe levels of chemicals in fish.
The state began testing fish from Freska Lake in September after residents raised concerns, WOOD-TV reported.
The lake is near a site where Wolverine World Wide buried per- and polyfluoroalkyl sludge for years. Studies suggest that PFAS affects fetal development, disrupts hormonal functions, damages fertility and immune systems, and boosts the risk of cancer.
The DNR collected the fish, the Department of Environmental Quality sent them to the lab for testing and the Department of Health and Human Services determined if they were safe to eat.
A November email acquired by the TV station through a records request says there were problematic levels of PFAS in the lake’s bluegills and cautions limiting consumption to two meals a month. The current statewide advisory, which is in effect because of mercury concerns, limits consumption to eight meals a month.
“That is very concerning if they’ve known this long,” said Bill Fix, who lives near the lake. “We’ve been ice fishing. They should have told us on day one. Even if they didn’t know, if they had concerns they should have told us.”
The Department of Health and Human Services first re-tested the fish to confirm the results, which were received in December, said Angela Minicuci, a department spokeswoman. The department then decided to wait to release the results this spring through their Eat Safe Fish guide, she said.
The state is now considering releasing the test results sooner than originally planned, she said.
“This is part of our challenge around PFAS and creating new models for communication,” Minicuci said.