Central School leader wants more involvement with PFOA blood test results


HOOSICK FALLS, NY — The head school official wants the district to be more involved when results of PFOA blood tests are released.

Hoosick Falls Central School District Superintendent Ken Facin said he wants more coordination between the state and school district over test results, which are expected to be released soon. He said he's concerned families will receive results via a letter in the mail and that the results will be released close to a major standardized test.

"This is a serious, intimate conversation with each family — this is not a mailing. It should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect when those numbers are delivered," Facin said during Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting, speaking during the superintendent's report agenda item.

He noted the Regents Examinations — "the biggest assessment platform that we have" — will begin June 14 and he indicated that the compounding situations would put stress on students and affect performance.

"These kids know they have a chemical in their body and they don't know what's going to happen in the future," Facin said. "That unknown is unnerving in of itself."

It's been about three months since the first residents had their blood drawn to be tested for PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid. About 2,000 residents reportedly had blood drawn to test for how much of the chemical — which was formerly used to make Teflon and contaminated the local public water supply — was in their blood.

At a Village Board meeting last week, state Department of Health officials told residents the results can be expected soon, but couldn't give an exact date.

"Residents who had their blood drawn when the biomonitoring program first started in mid-February can expect to receive their results in the next couple of weeks," a spokesperson with DOH said in response to an inquiry from the Banner on Wednesday. "Understanding that residents are eager to receive their results, the state is working diligently to release the results as soon as possible."

The "results will be mailed directly to residents as soon as they are ready," according to DOH.

Facin recounted a meeting between local and state officials in February, including DOH Commissioner Howard A. Zucker.

"I said to Zucker, before you release this to students' families ... you need to sit down with school nurses and staff in case students ask us questions," Facin said.

Facin said he has researched the subject and found studies that support a school district should be involved in a situation like this.

One idea he suggested was possibly using the school to host families and have break-out rooms for discussions.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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