Recently there have been reports of a PFAS contamination in Michigan, which many environmentalists say is a cause for concern.
If you follow a few tips before you go into the water, you should be okay.
“Now that’s pretty mild. What we saw a few weeks ago was just clumps coming down,” said Jenny, one frequenter of the Huron River.
The Huron River is a way of life for many people who live in Ann Arbor. Even the drinking water comes from the Huron River. But it’s also been known to contain PFAS, which are manmade chemicals that accumulate in bunches of foam.
“Well right now it’s making me very nervous,” said Jenny. “We actually took pictures of it because we were going to check and see.”
Dan Brown, who works with the Huron River Watershed Council, says that though more action is needed to clean up, you shouldn’t abandon plans on the water.
Essentially, there are two things to know: don’t eat the fish because PFAS accumulates in them. Don’t touch the foam, because while some is natural river foam, some isn’t and PFAS accumulates in that, too.
“If you make contact with river foam, that’s no reason to panic,” said Brown. “You just want to make sure that you rinse off and you want to rinse off with non-foamy river water. The real risk is when you ingest foam – so if kids are licking it off their hands and then putting them in their mouths or pets are looking it off their fur.”
Otherwise, the experts say, more needs to be done but avoiding the river is likely the wrong response.
However, some days, foam will always be visible.
“We’ve always seen some foam,” said Jenny. “There’s just more.”