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Hoosick Falls Alarmed by New PFOA Numbers

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PFOA was first detected in Hoosick Falls' drinking water in 2014. (Doug Kerr/Flickr)
PFOA was first detected in Hoosick Falls' drinking water in 2014. (Doug Kerr/Flickr)
June 20, 2017

HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. – Residents of Hoosick Falls are on edge after new tests found extremely high levels of a toxic chemical.

Elevated levels of perfluorooctanoic acid or (PFOA), a chemical linked to cancer, were found in Hoosick Falls' drinking water three years ago.

Now results from new tests of soil and groundwater by Honeywell and Saint-Gobain, owners of the factories where the contamination originated, show levels more than six times higher than those discovered in 2014.

Michele Baker, a member of the New York Water Project, is angry that she and other residents first heard the findings in news reports.

"The only way we get information is when it's put up on a website or you open a newspaper and read an article, and then we have to go hunt down the answers from the administration, which is unacceptable," she states.

A representative with the Department of Environmental Conservation says the new findings do not endanger public drinking water, which is being filtered and monitored.

But Baker says the entire town of 7,000 people is possibly contaminated. And while some private wells haven't shown traces of PFOA, others have, and not all the wells have been tested.

"This is a dangerous chemical,” she stresses. “We have it in our bodies. You know how the whole release of blood testing went just about a year ago. It was disastrous."

Blood test results in Hoosick Falls averaged more than 23 parts per billion of PFOA, 11 times the national average, and one resident had almost 160 parts-per-billion.

Some Hoosick Falls residents say the Cuomo administration's response to the contamination has been inadequate and inconsistent. Baker and other residents want the governor to come to the town next week to meet them, and learn about the fears they are living with.

"We've seen him roll up his sleeves and help numerous communities, whether it's the flooding that just happened out in the Great Lakes, or snowstorms,” she acknowledges. “The families of Hoosick Falls need your help. Please come help us."

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY