Newtown, PA

Results Released on Tyler Park Deer

Gregory Vellner
No PFAS in deer, study finds.Unsplash

NEWTOWN, Pa. -- Tests performed on deer in Tyler State Park here found no “forever chemicals” that would have required a ban on eating venison, but concern has been raised a “more measured” examination is needed before making a “robust” conclusion on the presence of PFAS toxins

“No forever chemicals were detected beyond the reporting limit for any of the muscle samples,” said Dr. Andrew Di Salvo, wildlife veterinarian, Pennsylvania Game Commission. “While I am happy that the meat was cleared, so to speak, these results certainly make me curious to dive a bit deeper.”

The results revealed today are from tests conducted more than three months ago on 27 Tyler deer – 26 muscle samples and one muscle/liver sample, said Di Salvo. The study was performed on the deer, he said, after samples taken from the park’s Neshaminy Creek disclosed excessive levels of PFAS chemicals in the waterway used by the deer. State officials last October issued a “do not eat” ban on fish from the creek basin.

At the 1,700-acre Tyler State Park in Bucks County, officials today said they had not yet been informed of test results.

“Not yet, not today,” said a park spokesperson who asked not to be named. “We have had people ask about it. There’s a no fishing order, but nothing on venison.”

According to Di Salvo, tests found no “forever chemicals” in deer muscle, but detected three compounds in the muscle/liver sample. He said the compounds are PFNA (perfluorononanoic) acid; PFDA (perfluorodecanoic) acid, and PFOS (perlurooctanesulfonic) acid.

“That is good news there were no forever chemicals, as that is what humans are predominately consuming from harvested deer,” said De Salvo. “In the single liver sample, however, three compounds were detected above the limit.”

The compounds were used in the production of non-stick or stain-repellent products, chemical inert coatings and flame retardants, he said, noting many were used at military bases in Horsham, Montgomery County, and in Warminster, Bucks County.

While tests found no presence of “forever chemicals” – called that because they do not break down naturally and might exist for thousands of years – no conclusion can be made on whether the compounds are toxic, said Di Salvo.

“Whether the concentration has any toxic effects on animals – wildlife or human – has to be determined through other means which have not been pursued as part of this testing,” he said. “We may be conducting additional testing in the future. We have to take a much more measured approach before drawing any robust conclusions.”

Testing like that done in Tyler is the only location currently under review in Pennsylvania, according to Travis Lau, spokesman, state Game Commission.

“With the current PFAS testing in deer, right now Tyler State Park is the only place we’re looking for it,” he said. “We might look at other places the future.”

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As a professional journalist for several years -- reporter, editor, feature writer, columnist -- I handled a range of subjects. Breaking news, investigative series, government action, feature events, and staff feature writer with national entertainment magazine interviewing stars including Tom Selleck, Mel Brooks and Danny DeVito. No matter the topic, certain ingredients are key: truth, facts, objectivity, balance.

Bucks County, PA

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