MADISON, Wis. (AP) — State environmental and health officials warned people Tuesday to avoid eating the livers of deer harvested around the Marinette area to avoid exposure to PFAS chemicals.
PFAS are man-made chemicals that research suggests can cause a range of health problems in humans. The chemicals have been used for decades in a range of products, including nonstick cookware, fast-food wrappers and firefighting foam.
The Marinette area has been grappling with PFAS pollution in ground and drinking water for several years. Sampling has shown groundwater at the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center in Marinette is contaminated with arsenic and PFAS from prior discharges.
Department of Natural Resources officials said they tested 20 deer harvested near the center for PFAS. Levels were low or not detected in the deer’s muscle and heart tissue but significant levels were found in their livers, which filter chemicals from the blood.
In light of the findings the DNR and the state Department of Health Services issued a do-not-eat advisory for livers of deer harvested within five miles of the JCI/Tyco facility. The area includes parts of Marinette, Peshtigo and surround communities.
DNR officials said people should feel comfortable consuming venison from deer harvested in the region, however.
Wisconsin’s deer bow season began Saturday.
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Featured image: Wisconsin deer (Photo by Nick Olejniczak via Flickr, CC BY-NC 2.0)