Avoid foam on Michigan lakes, rivers, and streams this summer

If you'll be spending time in the water this summer, avoid foam.

Foam on Michigan lakes, rivers, and streams could have chemicals such as high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

More: Do not eat fish from these SE Michigan lakes, rivers, and ponds

According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, children who have contact with PFAS-containing foam for a few hours a day may be at risk of negative health effects.

If you do come in contact with foam, MDHHS recommends rinsing off or bathing as soon as possible. This is especially true if the water has suspected PFAS contamination. Coming into contact with foam without rinsing off or bathing can lead to accidentally swallowing 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," said Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, MDHHS chief medical executive. "Washing your hands and rinsing off after water activities can protect you from chemicals or bacteria that may be in water or foam."

Related: Three Michigan beaches closed due to bacteria levels

The health department said natural foam without PFAS is usually off-white and/or brown, often has an earthy or fishy scent, and tends to pile up in bays, eddies or at river barriers such as dams.

Anyone with questions about exposure to PFAS or foam can call the MDHHS Environmental Health hotline at 800-648-6942.

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