As Michigan resort and lake towns prepare for the Memorial weekend holiday, the MDHHS & Michigan DNR is reminding folks to please avoid the lake foam on Michigan's inland waters.

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The DNR is warning that the foam can have unknown bacteria and chemicals in them. Plus some lake foam is the result of high levels of PFAS in lakes, streams, and rivers. PFAS, polyfluoroalkyl substances, can form a bright white foam that has the consistency of shaving cream. Naturally occurring foam is also something Michiganders may encounter as well, especially along bays, dams, and riverbanks. The naturally occurring foam tends to be off-white or brownish in color and will likely have an earthy or fishlike odor.

If you run into lake foam and it makes contact with your skin, the DNR recommends rinsing off as quickly as possible. Especially if PFAS contamination is expected. The longer the foam remains on your skin, the more likely it is that a swimmer will accidentally swallow some of the foam or residue.

Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health at MDHHS explains the reasoning behind the advice:

Although current science shows that the risk of PFAS getting into your system from contact with skin is low, you can minimize exposure to PFAS by rinsing or showering after you are done with your recreational activities. In general, washing hands and rinsing off after recreating will help to protect people from chemicals and bacteria that may be in waterbodies.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday issued a release urging caution around foam on lakes and rivers. The Michigan DNR then reiterated the warnings.

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