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.