On the heels of the Flint water crisis, news emerged over the past few weeks of contaminated water in Hoosick Falls, a village in Rensselaer County, 33 miles outside Albany. Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) levels in groundwater were discovered to be 40 times higher than recommended by the EPA. PFOA is a water and oil repellent used in numerous products, such as, microwave popcorn bags and nonstick cookware.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation identified Honeywell and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics as the "parties responsible" for the contamination. Eleven Hoosick Falls industrial facilities are believed to be involved in the contamination. Long-term exposure to PFOA is linked to an increased likelihood of:
- kidney cancer,
- testicular cancer and
- thyroid disease.
Contamination can also produce substantial declines in property values.
While high levels of PFOA were found on Saint-Gobain property, further studies are necessary to determine the full degree of contamination. It remains uncertain when the chemical was released into the environment, how far it has spread in the groundwater and how long Hoosick Falls residents were drinking polluted water.
The EPA is recommending that water from the public water system should not be used for drinking, cooking, brushing teeth or filling humidifiers. While the EPA does not believe the chemical is readily absorbed through the skin, it encourages residents to limit bathing. The recommendations come more than a year after the first samples showed higher than recommended levels of PFOA.
The New York Department of Health will be studying incidents of cancer and testing resident's blood. It will also continue testing public and private wells for contamination. The state has requested that the village be added to the list of Superfund cleanup sites. The Superfund is a federal trust which was instituted to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants.
If you were injured by contaminated water contact the attorneys at Rheingold, Giuffra, Ruffo & Plotkin LLP today for a free consultation. You can email us here or call us at 800-349-0004. Our experienced lawyers can help you protect your rights and receive compensation for your injuries.