The state's Department of Health and Human Services has issued a PFAS advisory for two rivers in West Michigan, urging locals to avoid foam in the water, as it potentially contains dangerous levels of PFAS.

Health advisories for foam exist on these two West Michigan waterbodies: the Thornapple River in Grand Rapids and the Rogue River in Rockford. (The other bodies of water listed are Van Etten Lake in Oscoda, Lake Margrethe in, Grayling, and the Huron River in Southeastern Michigan.

With the summer recreation starting, the MDHHS says new warnings are reminders because "swimming or bathing in water containing PFAS is not a health concern because the amount of PFAS is typically low compared to the foam." (But) "foam on these water bodies can have much higher amounts of PFAS than the water, and swallowing foam with PFAS could be a health risk."

The advisory does say "Although swallowing PFAS is the main way to get it in your body, an accidental swallow of river or lake water is not a health concern. Also, not all foam contains PFAS. There is naturally occurring foam that piles up in bays, eddies or river barriers such as dams. This foam is off-white and/or brown in color and may have an earthy or fish smell.

PFAS foam:

  • Can be bright white.
  • Is usually lightweight.
  • Can be sticky.
  • Tends to pile up like shaving cream.
  • Can blow onto the beach.