Hoosick Falls Update: EPA Soil Sampling at Ballfields

CaptureThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it will be testing soil samples from three ballfields in the village of Hoosick Falls that are located near a possible source of the town’s recent PFOA water contamination.

The sample testing will determine if the PFOA that was released into the air in the past from local facilities also contaminated the soil on the village’s ballfields due to their close proximity to the suspected source. Testing the ballfields will also show if the area had been used for disposal in the past.

This test will consist of samples taken at seven different locations on the three fields, as well as their dugout and bleacher areas. These samples will be tested for PFOA, its related chemicals, and several pollutants. The results will determine if cleanup work is necessary in the area by comparing them to the EPA’s established standards.

The results of the soil testing are expected to come back between late March and early April. The EPA will hold a public meeting to announce the results and answer questions before the start of the baseball and softball season.

Additional information about the Hoosick Falls water contamination can be found here or on the EPA website.

Residents of Hoosick Falls and other communities who believe they may have been impacted are encouraged to contact us and complete a water contamination contact form.


Banks Suspend Granting Mortgages in Hoosick Falls

The Bank of Bennington and the Trustco Bank in Hoosick Falls have suspended granting new mortgages due to the area being contaminated with toxic chemicals.

Trustco Bank’s treasurer Kevin Timmons, who confirmed the report, says that before lenders can finance home, the property normally must have access to potable water. A standard test for potability includes testing for e-coli and other contaminants, but now perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) must be added to the list, which is the chemical that has been found at dangerous levels in Hoosick Falls’ water supply.

For the homes that are not on the public water supply, the bank requires that their private wells are tested before issuing their mortgage.

A temporary filtration system that will work to remove majority of the PFOA from the village’s water supply is set to be in place by the end of February. This system, along with the permanent filtration system anticipated to be completed in October, are being funded by Saint-Gobain.

Trustco and the Bank of Bennington have claimed that they will resume granting mortgages once the filtration system is in place and the public water supply is safe for cooking and drinking.

Read the full article here.

Residents of Hoosick Falls and other communities who believe they may have been impacted are encouraged to contact us and complete a water contamination contact form.


Stay Involved in Government’s Response to Hoosick Falls Crisis

doh logoAt the direction of New York’s Governor’s office, the state Department of Health (DOH) will maintain a steady presence in Hoosick Falls on a regular schedule, in part to answer any questions residents may have regarding the PFOA contamination of their water.  The DOH will also be able to address the remedial efforts of the state and federal governments, such as a blood testing program and other efforts to assess the extent of the harm caused by PFOA,.

Our clients, and all Hoosick Falls residents, are encouraged to make the most of this opportunity to learn about what the next steps are, and to be heard in the process. Community involvement is critical to a successful response to environmental catastrophes.

See the announcement here.


Company That May Have Contaminated Hoosick Falls Water Supply Hires Top Lobbying Firm

perf_plastSaint-Gobain, the French company that has made Teflon-coated materials at a plant in the village of Hoosick Falls for decades, has retained a top lobbying firm as it braces for federal and state investigations and the possibility of enormous cleanup and legal costs for the contamination it may have caused in the village’s water supply.

Cozen O’Connor, which is the firm that Saint-Gobain has hired, already has its lobbyists beginning to reach out to federal elected officials in the state. Kenneth Fisher, a former New York City councilman, and Stuart Shorenstein are working with the company.

Spokeswoman Dina Pokedoff denied that Saint-Gobain was increasing its lobbying amid theHoosick Falls water contamination situation.

How exactly Hoosick Falls’ water supply became contaminated with industrial chemicals has not yet been determined. The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating and Governor Cuomo’s administration has declared that it will designate it a Superfund site, which could leave whoever was responsible liable for cleanup efforts that could cost up to tens of millions.

On Tuesday, Saint-Gobain began installing a temporary facility to treat the water in the village of about 5,000 people. The state Department of Health has signed off on that facility, which will be in place until a permanent system is installed later this year, according to Mayor David Borge. Saint-Gobain will pay more than $300,000 for the temporary system.

“We are hopeful that, once confirmatory testing of the new system demonstrates the safely of the water, EPA will inform the community that it is acceptable to use the water for household purposes,” Borge said in a statement.

The EPA says the Teflon-coated materials that the Saint-Goblin factory produced in the village for decades may have contaminated Hoosick Falls water supply with perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a toxic chemical that is used in non-stick cookware, stain-resistant carpets and packaging and has been linked to cancer.

Read the full article here.

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 to complete a water contamination contact form. You may also contact us here.


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.