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PFAS chemicals found in multiple rivers around Milwaukee

Posted at 1:25 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 14:26:58-04

MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said it has found levels of PFAS chemicals in 14 different locations in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, Kinnickinnic Rivers and inner and outer harbors, as well as one location in Lake Michigan.

PFAS stands for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They are human-made chemicals used in non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These chemicals can pose health risks if ingested directly or eating something that is contaminated like fish.

The findings come from a November 2019 study of a region called the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC). This data will be used to determine how the AOC will be cleaned and dredged.

Water and soil samples were taken from 14 different locations. The report found the area with the highest concentration of PFAS chemicals was the Kinnickinnic River. While the area with the lowest concentration was near the Linnwood Water Treatment Plant.

The DNR suggests not eating any fish from these rivers, and washing yourself and pets down after going in the water to prevent getting sick.

For more information about PFAS chemicals go to the DNR's website.

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