Help for Hoosick Falls Residents With Housing Matters

The Hoosick Falls water supply is contaminated with toxic levels of PFOA poses.  This not only puts the  health of residents at risk, but also poses many challenges, such as damage to property values.

A diminished home value can put residents already are struggling with their mortgage payments at increased risk of foreclosure because the loss of value makes finding refinancing options more difficult.

We have heard from Hoosick Falls residents saying that their property value has dropped sharply since discovery of the contamination of the town’s water supply.

An important resource for Hoosick Falls residents struggling with your mortgage or facing foreclosure is the Troy Rehabilitation and Improvement Program (TRIP), Inc.  TRIP has a Default/Foreclosure Prevention Counseling program that may be able to provide important information and assistance in saving your home from foreclosure.

The loss of property value may be a recoverable item of damages in a lawsuit.  If you believe that your property is losing value because of the PFOA contamination in your water supply, you should contact us to discuss your legal rights.


EPA Holds Public Meeting to Discuss PFOA Water Contamination in Village of Hoosick Falls

EPA Hoosick Falls PFOA Water Contamination MeetingFaraci Lange attorneys Stephen Schwarz and Hadley Matarazzo attended a meeting last night convened by the Environmental Protection Agency Region 2 Administrator, Judith Enck, and her staff to learn more about contamination of the Hoosick Falls public water supply with PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).

Representatives from the EPA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) presented information on PFOA, the associated health risks, plans to investigate the source and extent of the contamination, as well as plans to conduct a health study of Hoosick Falls Village residents.

Residents learned of the contamination when elevated levels of the toxic chemical, PFOA, were found in the system in 2014 by Michael Hickey, a former village trustee whose father died of cancer. Hickey sent water samples to a Canadian lab that reported levels of PFOA that the EPA later said are not safe for human consumption.

PFOA is a manmade chemical used to make non-stick and other household and commercial products that are heat-resistant and repel grease and water. Under a deal with the EPA, major PFOA makers began phasing out its use in 2006. PFOA exposure has been linked to increased health effects, including testicular and kidney cancer and thyroid disease.

Enck has urged village leaders to warn residents to stop drinking or cooking with the tap water and limit other exposure. Mayor David B. Borge had previously stated that it was a “personal choice” whether to consume the water, which comes from underground wells serving about 4,500 consumers.

The focus of the contamination has been a Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics manufacturing plant, although there are other potential sources that will be investigated. The small Saint-Gobain factory, the village’s largest employer with about 125 workers, is on a hill overlooking the Hoosick River, about 400 yards from village well fields.

According to the EPA’s 2009 provisional health advisory, people should not drink water or use it for cooking if it contains more than 400 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFOA. In June 2015, the EPA found that four out of five water samples collected from various locations within the public drinking water supply system in Hoosick Falls had more than 600 ppt of PFOA. Additionally, groundwater sampling in 2015 at the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics facility found levels as high as 18,000 ppt. Some private wells in the area have also shown the presence of PFOA, though not at levels above 400 ppt.

Hoosick Falls PFOA Water Contamination MeetingLast week, village trustees voted to have temporary filters installed on the water system. A long-term plan to install a charcoal filter system expected to remove PFOA from the water is set to be done later this year. Saint-Gobain has offered to pay to install and maintain the filter, and is also paying for residents to receive five gallons of water per day from the local Tops supermarket.

NYSDEC officials wrote to the U.S. EPA yesterday requesting that the sources of the Village of Hoosick Falls water contamination be added to the National Priorities List. This would make the sources of the contamination a Superfund site, which would avail the resources of the EPA and the federal government to address the source of the PFOA contamination. This will allow the EPA to begin an investigation into the sources of the PFOA contamination and, once identified, to explore options to remediate.

Read the EPA’s official answers to Frequently Asked Questions about Drinking Water and Groundwater Contamination in Hoosick Falls for more information. Concerned Hoosick Falls Village residents may also contact EPA Public Affairs Specialist, Larisa Romanowski, at 518.407.0400.

Faraci Lange is currently investigating bringing a lawsuit against one or more companies believed to be responsible for the cancers and other illnesses caused by this PFOA water contamination in Hoosick Falls.

Residents of Hoosick Falls and other communities who believe they may have been impacted are encouraged to contact Stephen G. Schwarz at (585) 325-5150 or click here to complete a contamination contact form. You may also contact us through our online intake form for a free legal consultation.

 


The Village of Hoosick Falls, NY: PFOAs Latest Victims

Sharon Kelly’s article “DuPont’s Deadly Deceit” (Earth Island Journal, January 4, 2016) is a scathing account of how chemical industry giants, such as DuPont, are covering up the deadly dangers of PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid), also know as C8.  PFOA is a synthetic manufacturing chemical used in many products, most notable to create “non-stick” surfaces.  According to Kelly’s article, DuPont hid the results of its own health studies and manipulated statutory and regulatory processes in order to legally produce larger amounts of PFOA at great cost to the environment.

The true health risks of PFOA were revealed only after a lawsuit compelled DuPont to produce thousands of incriminating documents.  PFOA’s are now determined to be toxic in drinking water at concentrations as low as .05 parts per billion by peer-reviewed scientific reports.  PFOAs have been associated with severe birth defects and linked to serious health conditions, including:

  • thyroid disease
  • ulcerative colitis
  • pregnancy-induced hypertension
  • kidney cancer
  • testicular cancer

Even with reduced use, PFOAs still remain a considerable threat to human health and the environment.  Currently, in New York, the village of Hoosick Falls faces crisis after PFOAs contaminated the public water supplies at levels so high the U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) advises the citizens not to use the water.

The history of PFOA has taught us two important lessons:

Even at levels significantly below regulation “standards,” the toxicity of chemicals can be severe.  These “standards” are often influenced by the industry’s lobbying efforts and funding of “junk science.”

When an individual is harmed by PFOAs, effective litigation is their last and best recourse.