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(Northfield, Gill, Erving, Montague, Greenfield, Deerfield, Sunderland, Whately, Hatfield, Hadley, Northampton, Easthampton, South Hadley, Holyoke, Chicopee, West Springfield, Springfield, Agawam, Longmeadow )

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Climate and Environmental Health (DPH/BCEH), routinely works with municipal health officials to understand the presence and nature of health hazards in the community. Consistent with this role, DPH is issuing a Fish Consumption Advisory (FCA) for Connecticut River based on elevated levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) measured in fish that were sampled in 2022 by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and summarized in a MassDEP report issued in December 2023.

PFAS were measured in fish sampled from Connecticut River at a level that exceeds the DPH action level of 0.22 parts per billion (ppb). This indicates that the daily consumption of fish from the waterbody may pose a potential health concern. DPH considers new sampling data and previous FCAs when issuing new fish advisories. The new advice is the most conservative FCA considering both previous and new advice based on measurements in fish from each waterbody. DPH is recommending that sensitive populations should not eat any fish from Connecticut River. The general population should limit consumption of all fish to 2 meals/month.

What are PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of chemicals used since the 1950s to manufacture stain-resistant, water-resistant, and non-stick products. PFAS are widely used in common consumer products such as food packaging, outdoor clothing, coatings, carpets, leather goods, and other products. They have also been used in firefighting foam, as well as in other industrial processes. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) have been the most extensively produced and studied of these chemicals.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this letter, please feel free to contact Mass DPH at (617) 624-5757, or CPHS on Behalf of the Gill, Northfield and Erving Boards of Health at (413) 774-3167 x142.

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