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DNR issues warning about PFAS concentrations in deer near Marinette

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources issued a warning Tuesday after a report found PFAS in the liver of deer harvested in Marinette.

The warning is for deer harvested within 5 miles of the JCI/Tyco Fire Technology Center (FTC). This includes areas of Marinette, Peshtigo and surrounding communities. The FTC is located at 2700 Industrial Parkway, Marinette.

The DNR has issued a do not eat advisory for deer liver in a five-mile area surrounding the JCI/Tyco Site In Marinette

Twenty deer were harvested and tested for PFAS levels in muscle (venison), heart and liver tissues.

PFAS levels in venison and heart tissue were either very low or not detected. For those who eat venison from deer harvested within the five-mile advisory area, the venison and heart of white-tailed deer are not likely to result in significant PFAS exposure, according to the DNR’s findings.

However, significant PFAS levels were found in deer liver tissues. The liver filters chemicals from the blood, and some chemicals, like PFAS, can accumulate in the liver over time. These findings suggest that eating liver from deer in this area is likely to result in significant PFAS exposure. The Wisconsin DHS and DNR recommend people not eat liver harvested from deer within the advisory area. Further investigation of PFAS in deer from other locations is under consideration.

“We want to be clear that people should feel comfortable eating venison from deer they’ve harvested near this area," said Tami Ryan, DNR wildlife health section chief. "We just advise they do not consume the liver.”

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are man-made chemicals used in industrial processes and manufactured products. PFAS don’t break down easily and can remain for a long time in the environment where people can be exposed to them. PFAS can accumulate in the human body slowly over time through repeat exposure. High levels of PFAS in the body are harmful to human health, especially to the health of pregnant women.

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