United States

Test Results Show PFAS Chemicals in Fish From Farmington River

Public health officials are warning the public not to eat fish caught in certain parts of the river.

A warning not to eat fish caught in the Farmington River remains in effect after firefighting foam spilled into the river from Bradley International Airport in June.

The warning concerns fish caught downstream from the Rainbow Dam to the confluence with the Connecticut River. Signs are posted.

According to the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the state Department of Public Health, fish captured in July tested positive for elevated levels of PFAS. Public health officials said the concentration was too high to be considered safe for consumption.

“These data validate the precautionary measures we took over the summer to advise the public not to consume fish taken from this area of the Farmington River,” said Brian Toal, interim chief of Environmental Health at the Connecticut Department of Public Health. “These samples were taken at a point in time following the spill event and it is likely that the PFAS levels detected in fish may decline as additional fish tissue samples are collected and analyzed. Until then, the advisory for the lower Farmington River remains in effect.”

The public can still catch and release fish in this area. Officials say it is safe to kayak and boat in the area.

On June 8, firefighting foam containing PFAS spilled from a hangar at Bradley Airport.

PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” for the way they permeate the environment, have been linked to health risks ranging from developmental effects in fetuses and infants to certain forms of cancer.

PFAS, known as “forever chemicals” have been linked to health risks ranging from developmental effects in fetuses and infants and certain forms of cancer.

More fish samples were collected in late September from the river for testing, but the results have not yet come in. After they were captured, more foam wound up in the river after a plane crash at the airport on October 2.

The type of firefighting foam that seeped from Bradley is required by the FAA, which believes it’s the most effective. But local and state leaders, including Sen. Richard Blumenthal, are calling for safer alternatives.

Gov. Ned Lamont has appointed a PFAS task force to look into ways to address the PFAS in our communities. To see the Draft PFAS Action Plan, click here.

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