Spring Hill Farm Ends Water Operations Over PFAS Controversy

Spring Hill Dairy Farm announced Friday that it will shut down its bottled water operations. The decision was made as stores in Massachusetts and New Hampshire pulled the company's water products from shelves over the presence of controversial chemicals.

The Haverhill company recently came under public scrutiny after New Hampshire public health officials found PFAS levels in its bottled water were high enough to prompt a warning based on the state's standards. The levels were, however, within the federal government's accepted range.

PFAS is the acronym given for the chemicals officially called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances. They are resistant to water, oil and heat often found in non-stick products like tents, umbrellas and carpets. In recent years, and especially in New Hampshire, there's been growing concern among activists over PFAS contamination in drinking water.

In its announcement, signed by owner Harold Rogers, Spring Hill thanked its customers, but said the "negatives" of doing business in Massachusetts "have come to outweigh the positives."

The company said results from tests it paid a private company to conduct showed no traces of PFAS from a charcoal filtration system. In the statement, Rogers said Spring Hill had installed the system on July 22 to ensure the company's products did not contain PFAS. Regardless, "continued adverse media" and varying state regulations contributed to the decision to cease the bottled water operations, he said.

"... The deluge of unwarranted attention on our company, when PFAS is clearly a national problem with thousands of contributors, has made it impossible for us to keep operating," the company said in its statement. "Sensational, fear-inducing headlines relative to an advisory that impacts an estimated 6-7% of the population of Massachusetts (pregnant and lactating women and bottle-fed infants) have created an untenable environment."

At least 30 employees will lose their jobs with the shuttering of its bottled water business, Rogers said, adding "without their contributions, loyalty and support, the Company could not have grown as it has during my tenure. Their service will be rewarded."

This article was originally published on August 02, 2019.


Derek J. Anderson Digital Producer
Derek J. Anderson is a digital producer for WBUR.



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