A Massachusetts company that sells bottled water in Maine and other New England states announced Friday that it’s closing despite having installed a filtration system to eliminate the long-lasting chemicals from its water that triggered a New Hampshire health advisory.

Spring Hill Dairy Farm, a fourth-generation company in Haverhill, said it would close in the near future and more than 30 employees would lose their jobs.

“It was with great sadness and a heavy heart when I informed our 30-plus employees that their jobs at Spring Hill will end in the near future,” Spring Hill Farm CEO Harold Rogers said in a written statement. “Without their contributions, loyalty and support, the company could not have grown as it has during my tenure. Their service will be rewarded.”

The announcement comes after New Hampshire environmental officials recommended that pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants refrain from drinking or cooking with Spring Hill Water. The water did not violate federal, Maine or Massachusetts health standards, but New Hampshire has stricter guidelines f0r the contaminant, a group of chemicals known as polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. New Hampshire started random testing of bottled water this summer.

Used for decades in everything from nonstick cookware to firefighting foam, PFAS are long-lasting chemicals linked to cancer, thyroid disruption and reproductive and immunological changes in lab animals. The chemicals linger in the environment and the human body for decades, becoming so pervasive that they have been showing up in the blood of humans and animals around the world.

Rogers blamed “sensational, fear-inducing headlines” and a changing regulatory environment for the company’s closure, though he expressed confidence that a $100,000 charcoal filtration system, installed on July 22, would remove virtually all PFAS from the water.

“However the continued adverse media focusing on you our customers, as well fluctuations in regulations and levels among different states and the federal government and more to come in the future, is of concern to our very small business which those of you who are small business owners will certainly understand,” Rogers said in a written statement. “For these reasons, we didn’t want to cause you any more uncertainty or undue attention and shall close our business.”

In Maine, Spring Hill is sold at Cumberland Farms, Market Basket, Whole Foods and other stores.

New Hampshire developed a strict standard for PFAS as the chemicals are coming under increased scrutiny for public health concerns worldwide. Maine and Massachusetts use the less stringent federal standard for allowable levels of contamination, although the Mills administration convened a task force this year that is considering whether to lower the threshold as New Hampshire has done. The Maine task force is not only examining PFAS standards for drinking water, but also for biosolids, wastewater treatment plants and milk produced at Maine dairies.

While some forms of the chemicals are no longer manufactured in the United States, other varieties still help make frying pans nonstick, carpeting stain-resistant, jackets shed water and food packaging repel grease.

In addition to finding contamination around several military or industrial sites in Maine, a heavily contaminated dairy farm in Arundel has raised concerns about more widespread contamination on agricultural fields that were fertilized with sludge from sewage treatment plants that was unknowingly laced with PFAS.


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