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Health department seeks more Oscoda volunteers for PFAS study

A sign warns swimmers to avoid foam in front of Van Etten Lake in Oscoda.
Teresa Homsi
A sign warns swimmers to avoid foam in front of Van Etten Lake in Oscoda.

Health officials are looking for more volunteers from Oscoda to participate in a study on how and where people were exposed to chemicals like PFAS.

The exposure assessment will help guide future public health actions - and there’s no cap on how many eligible people can participate. But the state said more volunteers would allow for a more detailed analysis of how people are exposed to 197 different environmental contaminants, including 45 PFAS compounds.

Melissa Millerick-May is with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. She said volunteers must be 12 years or older and a current resident of Oscoda or Au Sable Township.

“Once somebody is recruited, our team members explain all about the study and what will happen, and if the individual is still interested in participating then they make arrangements for a clinic visit,” Millerick-May said.

Volunteers will receive a report of their results and information they can share with their healthcare providers.

“[After signing up], the study participant would go to the [30-minute] clinic, fill out the exposure assessment questionnaires, complete a blood draw, provide a urine sample, and then those samples will go back to our laboratories for analysis,” Millerick-May said.

If you're interested in participating, call 844-464-7327 or email to learn more or schedule an appointment with the health department.

Teresa Homsi is an environmental reporter and Report for America Corps Member based in northern Michigan for WCMU. She covers rural environmental issues, focused on contamination, conservation, and climate change.