New Hampshire’s Berry’s Brook Tests Positive for Toxic Chemicals


Media Contact:
Josh Block
jblock@clf.org
(617) 850-1709

CLF analysis finds toxins linked to cancer, thyroid disorder and hypertension

November 30, 2016 (PORSTMOUTH, NH) – Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) announced today the results of a water sample analysis performed in Berry’s Brook by the site of the Coakley Landfill. According to the results, the brook, which runs northeast through Rye before discharging into the Great Bay Estuary at Little Harbor, contains high levels of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs), which have been linked to kidney and testicular cancer, high cholesterol, thyroid disorders and hypertension in pregnant women. Today’s results are based on sampling performed November 2 by CLF’s Great Bay-Piscataqua Waterkeeper, Jeff Barnum, in collaboration with State Representative-elect Mindi Messmer and a group of local residents.

“When Coakley Landfill was shut down three decades ago, PFC contamination and the severe threat it posed to surrounding neighborhoods was left wholly unaddressed,” said Jeff Barnum. “And in the years since, the day-to-day operations of Pease Air Force Base and Pease Tradeport have only made matters worse. In communities built around the water where so many families rely on private wells, the significant presence of any carcinogens should raise alarm bells. We cannot afford to wait any longer to begin educating our neighbors about this serious health risk and taking action to make our water safe and clean.”

According to CLF’s test results, Berry’s Brook was found to contain PFCs at a level of 194 parts per trillion (ppt). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently established a health advisory for PFCs at the level of 70 ppt, and many states have opted to set considerably lower, more protective standards as well.

New Hampshire State Representative-elect Mindi Messmer added, “These elevated PFC numbers from Berry’s Brook are extremely troubling. How is it possible that such high numbers exist so long after the closure of Coakley? The stream runs through Rye neighborhoods and lots of kids play in it. Coupled with a nearby cancer cluster, this is simply unacceptable.”

Experts are available for further comment.

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