Mass. officials warn about some bottled water brands

Some bottled water sold under a variety of brand names across New England may have high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), chemicals that have been linked with some cancers and may negatively affect the immune system, thyroids, and metabolism.

In a July 2, 2019 advisory, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health warned that water produced by Spring Hill Farm Dairy in Haverhill shouldn’t be consumed by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or by bottle-fed infants.

PFASs are synthetic chemicals that repel water, grease, and stains. They’re used in a wide range of products, including nonstick pans, food wrappings, carpets, waterproof clothing, and firefighting foams.

“They’re used in a lot of outdoor gear, in dental floss, in pizza boxes,” said Elsie Sunderland, professor of environmental science and engineering in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Department of Environmental Health, in a July 23, 2019 WGBH story. “You name it, we can pretty much find PFAS in it.” She said the compounds can be found in the blood of 98% to 99% of Americans.

It’s not clear how the PFASs got into Spring Hill Farm Dairy’s bottled water, which is sold in stores including Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, CVS, and others under various brand names. WGBH reported that the company has installed a new filtration system.

In a July 29 Boston Globe article, Sunderland called the lack of a recall of the tainted water “really concerning.”

Listen to or read the WGBH story: State Officials Warn Infants, Pregnant And Breastfeeding Women To Avoid Some Bottled Water Brands

Read the Boston Globe article: Tainted bottled water is being sold at supermarkets throughout New England