Study finds Hoosick Falls area residents have elevated PFOA levels in blood

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HOOSICK FALLS, NY >> Results from a study that found area residents have elevated PFOA levels have been mailed to its participants.

The study found residents in the Hoosick Falls area had an average of 23.5 micrograms per liter of PFOA in their blood, according to the New York Department of Health (DOH). That's up to 10 times higher than the average American — most people have between 2 and 5 micrograms per liter of PFOA in their blood, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The first results from the biomonitoring study, which aimed to measure residents' exposure to the potentially harmful chemical, were mailed on Thursday to Friday.

A fact sheet included with the results states "the result only provides exposure information" and "comparison to people living elsewhere."

"Because scientists and public health experts are still learning about PFOA and human health, the blood testing result does not indicate if a person's current illness is due to PFOA, or if a person will experience illness in the future due to PFOA," the DOH fact sheet states.

Residents will be encouraged to speak with their physician about potential health effects, according to Nathan Graber, director of the Center for Environmental Health at DOH.

Graber told the Banner that, in general, the results showing higher PFOA levels among participants correlate with higher ages, reflective of higher exposure in the past.

Graber said DOH staff are reviewing data from surveys completed by residents. Additional blood draw clinics are slated for June 18 and 28.

Graber said representatives from his agency will continue holding informational sessions at the Hoosick Armory, 80 Church St. They will be there Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Information on the study is available here: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick.

It's been four months since DOH launched the biomonitoring study for PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, in blood. Some residents from nearby Petersburgh, where PFOA also turned up in wells and a municipal water supply, also participated, according to Graber.

The man-made chemical was used to make Teflon for decades. Saint-Gobain and Honeywell International are responsible for the contamination, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation, because both companies are successors of past manufacturing facilities.

PFOA has been under increased scrutiny and the federal EPA only recently issued a health advisory level. Its use was widespread across the country. Manufacturers 3M and Dupont are facing class action suits alleging they knew about the harmful health affects decades ago.

Graber said results will come in a mailed packet with a letter from DOH, information about the program and other resources. One sheet will include a table showing residents their result and for comparison, the average levels for the general public and residents of other communities across the country.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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