If You See Any Foam On Michigan Lakes And Rivers, It's Best To Avoid It

By Taylor Linzinmeir

June 30, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

According to Click On Detroit, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is recommending anyone who visits a Michigan body of water avoid the foam.

Foam, which can form on any waterbody, such as lakes, rivers and streams, can sometimes contain harmful chemicals like per- and polysubstances (PFAS). A MDHHS evaluation found that young children who come into contact with the foam containing these chemicals for a few hours a day could be at a higher risk of negative health effects, including higher cholesterol thyroid disease.

Identifying Harmful Foam

Foam containing high levels of PFAS often appear bright white in color, light weight and may pile up on shores or blow onto surrounding beaches. On the other hand, Natural foam that doesn't contain PFAS will appear off-white or brown in color and might have an earthy or fishy scent. This foam usually piles up in bays or eddies or on river barriers.

What To Do After Coming In Contact With Foam

The MDHHS suggests you rinse off or bathe your body as soon as possible if you come into contact with foam. Leaving the foam on your body can lead to accidentally swallowing the foam or foam residue.

"Studies have shown that the risk of PFAS getting into your body from skin contact is low, but you can accidentally swallow PFAS or other chemicals and bacteria if you do not rinse off or bathe after coming into contact with foam," according to MDHHS Chief Medial Executive Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian. Washing your hands and rinsing off after water activities can protect you from chemicals or bacteria that may be in water or foam."

Stay safe out there!

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