LANSING, MI (AP)--   State Fire Marshal Kevin Sehlmeyer is checking with departments around Michigan about their use of toxic firefighting foam that may be contaminating groundwater. 

Sehlmeyer is surveying more than 1,000 fire departments about how they use and dispose of foam containing perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).

Officials are trying to determine how widely the toxic chemicals are used and develop statewide measures to prevent them from causing further pollution.

UPDATE: UPHS-Marquette issued the following statement in response to the NLRB complaint:

We have received a notice of hearing from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in response to unfair labor practice charges filed by the Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) against UPHS – Marquette. As we stated last fall when the Union filed these charges, that filing came as no surprise, as unions routinely take such action immediately following a strike.

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Michigan continues its fight against a deadly Hepatitis A outbreak. Nearly 800 people have gotten the disease since August of 2016. Now the state is giving half a million dollars to areas that have not had an outbreak of Hepatitis A – yet.

Twenty-five county health departments will get $20,000 each to increase vaccination outreach.

Time Magazine

FLINT, MI (MPRN)--   Blood lead levels in Flint children are declining, according to a new study.

The study in The Journal of Pediatrics finds blood lead levels in Flint children were nearly three times higher in 2006 than in samples taken in 2016.

Researchers from the University of Michigan and the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School analyzed lead concentrations of more than 15,000 blood samples of Flint children five years old and younger. 

MARQUETTE, MI--   The 19th annual Spring Holistic Health Fair takes place Saturday in Marquette. 

Sponsored by the group Natural Connections, the fair will feature about 44 vendors in the upstairs area of the Masonic Building in downtown Marquette. Offerings will include essential oils, energy work, massage therapy, art and jewelry, and information on practices like yoga and acupuncture.

Lee Ossenheimer a volunteer with Natural Connections. He says more people are beginning to take charge of their own health, and the fair gives them a chance to explore various modalities.

IRON MOUNTAIN, MI--   The board of Dickinson County Healthcare System has approved an asset purchase agreement with Bellin Health. 

Officials say it’s the next step in a process under which Bellin is acquiring DCHS. They say the agreement is necessary for a closing statement that will need to be signed by both health systems. Bellin President and CEO George Kerwin says a substantial amount of work needs to be completed before the deal is closed.

IRON RIVER, MI--   Aspirus Iron River Hospital has been named one of the Top 100 Critical Access Hospitals in the U.S. 

The rankings come from iVantage Health Analytics and the Chartis Center for Rural Health. Aspirus Ironwood was also included on the list. It and Aspirus Iron River were the only hospitals in Michigan to receive the designation.

Officials say the iVantage index measures facilities across eight pillars of hospital strength: inpatient share ranking, outpatient share ranking, cost, charge, quality, outcomes, patient perspective, and financial stability. 

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Existing medical marijuana dispensaries had until Thursday to submit applications in to a state licensing board. 

The applications had to include proof their local governments allow them to operate.

The filing allows more than 75 existing medical marijuana operations to stay in business while they wait on word whether they get state licenses. David Harns with the state medical marijuana licensing board says dispensaries that didn’t meet the deadline are probably out of luck.

MADISON, WI (AP)--   The Wisconsin Assembly plans to vote on a bill creating a pilot program to prohibit the use of food stamps for purchasing junk food.

The bill up for a vote Thursday would require the state to identify food and beverages that don't have sufficient nutritional value and restrict the use of FoodShare benefits to purchase them.

A federal waiver to conduct the program would likely be needed.

Opponents argue such restrictions will not improve the health of food stamp recipients, would be costly to administer and increase the cost of food.

UPDATE:  Northern Michigan University received the results from one of the independent labs tests Thursday afternoon that revealed lead levels well below the legal limits. The comprehensive water testing included multiple samples from the hot, cold and culinary water systems in the Jacobetti Complex.

The building will remain closed Friday, February 16, to allow the maintenance staff the opportunity to flush the water systems as an additional precaution. The building will be open Saturday for regular business.