Mississippi Mills residents want NRC facility shut down after water contamination
Residents want meeting with Navdeep Bains, minister responsible for NRC
Residents of a Mississippi Mills, Ont., neighbourhood who recently found out their drinking water has been contaminated with chemicals found in firefighting foam want the neighbouring National Research Council facility shut down until the problem is resolved.
- Chemicals found in Mississippi Mills, Ont., drinking water
- What are perfluoroalkylated substances, or PFAS?
The NRC has been delivering bottled water to some neighbouring homes and is paying for charcoal water filtration systems in others after tests revealed Perfluoroalkylated substances, also known as PFAS, were found on the fire research centre's property, as well as in the drinking water of some of the 50 neighbouring homes.
I'm definitely going to go see a doctor after this is all done to see if there's any problems that this could have caused for either myself, my wife or my kids.- Mike Anderson, Mississippi Mills resident
With limited information about the health effects of PFAS on humans — and no clear answer on how long they have been consuming contaminated water — a community group of residents is calling for a meeting with MP Navdeep Bains, who is responsible for the NRC as the minister of innovation, science and economic development.
Mike Anderson has been drinking the water from his home near the facility since he moved there in 2002, but he and his family recently switched to bottled water after test results showed the presence of PFAS.
"My big concern on that is, it has been 14 years," he said. "I'm definitely going to go see a doctor after this is all done to see if there's any problems that this could have caused for either myself, my wife or my kids."
How long has water been contaminated?
For humans, the agency says short-term exposure to humans at levels slightly above the safety threshold is not expected to have health effects, but does not define what constitutes short- or long-term exposure.
The National Fire Laboratory on Ramsay Concession Road 8 — a large warehouse where houses are built and set on fire to test firefighting chemicals — has been operated by the NRC since 1981.
Of the neighbouring homes tested, one showed a "slightly elevated level" of PFAS in the water, 17 showed PFAS amounts under the screening level of concern, and 21 showed no PFAS at all, said Mayor of Mississippi Mills Shaun McLaughlin. There are still about 10 homes that need to be tested.
"I want to know how long those people may have been exposed," McLaughlin said. "A short-term exposure is apparently not dangerous, a long-term exposure is dangerous, so how long has it been in the drinking water of those houses?"
Bains did not immediately respond to CBC's request for an interview.