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Bennington College Releases New PFOA Study

A map showing concentrations of PFOA detected east of Bennington, Vermont
Bennington College
A map showing concentrations of PFOA detected east of Bennington, Vermont

Researchers at Bennington College have released data that may show how far a toxic chemical has spread through the air from a closed factory in southern Vermont.

The PFOA contamination in the Bennington area has been linked to the former Chemfab plant in North Bennington, now owned by company Saint-Gobain.

In December 2017, Saint-Gobain released a draft study that claimed elevated levels of PFOA detected in soil and groundwater in an eastern portion of the Bennington area “are not indicative of historical impacts from the former Chemfab facilities.”

The state of Vermont rejected Saint-Gobain’s findings.

Now, new data shows that the contamination area may extend further than previously thought, says Bennington College researcher Dr. David Bond.

“Our research has begun to identify a distinct plume of soil with elevated levels of PFOA that lies directly downwind of the Chemfab facility in North Bennington. This plume stretches over 10-miles eastward from Bennington over the Green Mountains,” said Bond.     

Without claiming responsibility, Saint-Gobain previously reached an agreement with the state to extend clean municipal water lines to about 200 homes with contaminated wells in the western portion of the Bennington area, closer to the Chemfab plant.

For more information visit: http://www.bennington.edu/center-advancement-of-public-action/environment-and-public-action/understanding-pfoa

A full interview with Dr. David Bond

Lucas Willard is a news reporter and host at WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which he joined in 2011. He produces and hosts The Best of Our Knowledge and WAMC Listening Party.
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