PFOS and Propylene Glycol in Hamilton Waterways

The City of Hamilton investigated concerns about:

  • Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, also known as PFOS; and
  • Propylene glycol in the headwater creeks of the Upper Welland River and Lake Nipenco.

Both of these areas are near John C. Munro Airport.

Public Health Services believes that levels of PFOS found to date do not represent a further risk to public health beyond fish consumption restrictions outlined in the Guide to Eating Sports Fish. Swimming in Lake Niapenco is not a public health risk associated with exposure to PFOS.

Propylene glycol in the headwater creeks of the Upper Welland River is not a risk to human health.

PFOS and propylene glycol in local private wells

Soil in Glanbrook is generally clay based, which diminishes the potential movement of PFOS or propylene glycol into the aquifer used for well water. Exposure to PFOS or propylene glycol through well water is believed to be unlikely.

We recommend that residents who live in this area and use private well water:

  • Inspect your well to ensure it is constructed properly and is protected from surface water contamination.
  • Test your well water for bacteria. Bacteria in well water is a much higher health risk then the levels of PFOS found in fish and sediment in Lake Niapenco and can be an indicator of deteriorating construction that can allow surface water contamination to enter the well.