Senator Humason Supports PFAS Health Study Grant Proposal

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Senator Humason Supports PFAS Health Study Grant Proposal


Boston --- Senator Donald F. Humason, Jr. (R-2nd Hampden and Hampshire District) sent a letter of support to Dr. Timothy E. Ford of UMass Amherst for his grant proposal to the federal government seeking funding to study the impact of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)  in Hyannis and Westfield. Governor Charlie Baker is also in favor of this study and sent a letter of support to Dr. Ford earlier today. 


“As a resident of Westfield, I believe it is vital that we understand the health effects caused by these chemicals. Having a clean and safe source of drinking water is a fundamental right for those residing in the Commonwealth and I support this study wholeheartedly,” said Senator Humason.


The letter reads as follows:


Dear Dr. Ford:


I am pleased to offer this letter of support for the grant proposal by UMass Amherst, GreenCAPE, and Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves (WRAFT) to be submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in response to Notice of Funding Opportunity RF-TS-19-002. The application proposes to study health effects from Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Hyannis and Westfield, Massachusetts. Both communities have been impacted by the release of aqueous film-forming foam containing PFAS used in firefighting training exercises that has contaminated community sources of drinking water. Researchers from UMass Amherst, Smith College, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine will work with community partners from WRAFT and GreenCAPE on

this project.


PFAS are a class of emerging contaminants whose health effects are not yet fully understood, and which are a high priority concern for the Commonwealth. Their widespread use in many different consumer products, as well as firefighting foam, has resulted in their presence in the environment. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) have been addressing issues related to these emerging contaminants. MassDEP’s Drinking Water Program, Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup and Office of Research and Standards have worked with communities in Massachusetts that have discovered PFAS in public drinking water supplies, including the communities of Westfield and Hyannis. MassDEP is working to identify potential historic sources of these compounds, has proposed waste site cleanup standards for 6 PFAS compounds in draft regulations that are currently available for public comment and has adopted drinking water guidance for PFAS. In addition, the agency has started working on developing a Massachusetts Maximum Contaminant Level (or MMCL) for public drinking water systems. DPH collaborates with MassDEP and serves on MassDEP’s Health Effects Advisory Committee to develop PFAS standards and works with MassDEP to respond to questions about health effects of PFAS. Project researchers can review the publicly available DPH statewide and community health data for this project.


As noted above, the communities of Hyannis and Westfield have experienced PFAS exposure, and the sponsoring community partners for this grant proposal are active and well-informed citizen groups. The proposed health effects study will help advance our understanding of these compounds in the areas of risk assessment and human exposure.


I strongly support research in these areas and am pleased to support this research proposal. It will help address concerns and questions among residents in Massachusetts and contribute to our broader understanding of the risks to public health from PFAS exposure.




Don Humason

State Senator

2nd Hampden & Hampshire










Donald Humason