What are PFAS?
Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), are part of a group of chemicals used globally during the past century in manufacturing, firefighting and thousands of common household and other consumer products. These chemicals can be present in personal care products such as cosmetics and lotions, some insect repellants and sunscreens, and even in pizza boxes and fast food wrappers.
In recent years, experts have become increasingly concerned by the potential effects of high concentrations of PFAS on human health. Learn more about PFAS at www.michigan.gov/pfasresponse.
PFAS Contamination and the Huron River
It is still safe to swim, boat and enjoy recreation on the Huron River!
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is advising residents to avoid PFAS foam along the Huron River. PFAS foam could have much higher amounts of PFAS than the water.
Swimming and body contact in water containing PFAS is not a health concern because the amount of PFAS is usually low compared to the foam. While swallowing PFAS is the main way to get it into the body, an accidental swallow of river or lake water is not cause for concern.
Current science indicates that PFAS does not move easily through the skin, but it is best to rinse off foam (PFAS or naturally-occurring) after contact.
More information on foam:
Drinking Water Testing
The State of Michigan is working proactively to identify locations where PFAS may be present as a contaminant. The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) tested all of the public systems in Michigan in 2018.
- Public water supplies 2018 testing results and report describing the findings
- Testing results for schools on their own wells
- City of Ann Arbor's statement on test results (8/29/18)
If you’re concerned about your well water, our Environmental Health staff can provide personalized information and guidance. Give them a call at 734-222-3800.
To find information about your well, including your well log, which is a detailed construction record for your well, please read our Instructions for Finding Your Well Log.
If you want to test your water, information is available on our page How to Test Drinking Water for PFAS.
PFAS and Health
Scientists are still learning about the health effects of exposures to mixtures of PFAS. Although more research is needed, some studies in people have shown that certain PFAS may:
- affect growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- interfere with the body’s natural hormones
- increase cholesterol levels
- affect the immune system
- increase the risk of certain types of cancer