Possibly toxic chemicals found in drinking water near fire lab

by Brent Eades

Lsb
National Fire Laboratory

The National Research Council is delivering bottled water to some homes in Mississippi Mills after “slightly above normal” levels of so-called perfluoroalkylated substances, or PFAS, were found in one home’s water.

Tests by the NRC of drinking water at 40 homes near the National Fire Laboratory on Concession 8 have also revealed smaller amounts of the substance at about half of them, but at levels not thought to be of concern.

According to Health Canada PFAS are used in various industrial products, including fire-fighting foam. Although little testing has been done of their impact on human health, in animals “high levels have been linked with negative health effects… including liver damage and impacts on neurological development.”

The tests were part of an environmental assessment of 150 federal properties being conducted throughout the country. The source of the chemical is not yet known. National Research Council spokesman Charles Drouin said, “We’re still trying to find the source of that contaminant. So far we still haven’t been able to do that.”

In the meantime residents of the area near the lab will continue to have bottled water shipped in.