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PFAS found in some store-brand bottled water

Harvard residents who may have switched to bottled water after hearing about the recent discovery of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in some of the town’s smaller public water supplies may now have another concern: the presence of PFAS in bottled water sold under various brand names at grocery stores, drug stores, and convenience stores across Massachusetts.

The Boston Globe reported July 30 that water bottled by Spring Hill Farm Dairy in Haverhill was found to contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) during random tests conducted by New Hampshire officials about a month ago. On July 2 the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a consumption advisory for Spring Hill Farm Dairy’s spring water, saying the water contained PFAS levels above DPH’s recommended limits for pregnant women, nursing mothers, and infants.

According to the DPH advisory, Spring Hill installed a PFAS treatment system that has been in operation since July 24, but water bottled before that date may still be on the shelves in stores or in consumers’ homes. The advisory also states the only affected products are large jugs (1 to 2.5 gallons) bottled prior to July 24 that list “Spring Hill Spring” as the source, and it provides a full list of the affected brands at https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2019/07/08/spring-hill-advisory-july-2-2019_0.pdf. The brands include 365 Spring Water sold at Whole Foods, Acadia Spring Water sold at Stop and Shop, Market Basket Spring Water, Roche Brothers Spring Water, Shaw’s Spring Water, Ice Canyon Spring Water sold at CVS, and Cumberland Farms Spring Water.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) does not regulate bottled water, but it does provide the public with a list of companies that have voluntarily provided MassDEP with PFAS test results on their bottled water: https://www.mass.gov/doc/bottled-water-tested-for-pfas.

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