A federally-funded study is examining the human health effects of PFAS exposure. The University at Albany and New York State Department of Health are working to study those affected in Hoosick Falls and surrounding area, and the City of Newburgh. Meantime, some in the Rensselaer County Town of Petersburgh feel regulators need to do more to address PFAS contamination.

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More than 80 organizations are urging New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to protect Rockland County drinking water from PFAS contamination. It comes some seven months after residents learned the county’s drinking water, in several locations, was contaminated with PFOA and PFOS.

Alyssa Arcaya, acting chief of Drinking Water and Municipal in the infrastructure branch of the EPA.
Screenshot by Jackie Orchard / WAMC

The Rockland County legislature and a representative of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency held a virtual panel Wednesday amid concerns over the level of PFAS contamination in the county’s drinking water.

Two House Reps Introduce PFAS Action Act, Again

Apr 14, 2021
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Two members of Congress from Michigan re-introduced bipartisan legislation Tuesday to set national drinking water standards for two PFAS chemicals. WAMC’s Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Allison Dunne says New Yorkers are watching closely.

Three schools in the Hudson Valley have “Do Not Drink” advisories after two PFAS chemicals were found above New York state’s contamination limits. These are among the first schools with the higher levels since the state adopted new maximum contaminant levels for PFOA and PFOS over the summer.

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USDA/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer and New York Congressman Mondaire Jones are calling on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help get to the bottom of PFAS contamination in Rockland County’s drinking water. This comes after PFOA in drinking water exceeded the state’s new limits.

Slide presented during Environmental Working Group press briefing on PFAS and COVID, December 17, 2020
Courtesy of the Environmental Working Group

Scientists and toxicology experts say PFAS chemicals known to affect the immune system could impact the efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine. While the link has not yet been cemented, they are concerned that communities with high exposures to PFAS may be more vulnerable during the pandemic.

New York state Thursday adopted maximum contaminant levels for three chemicals in drinking water. Environmental and community advocates wanted to see lower levels adopted, and more PFAS chemicals included, but say it’s a good start. One of the limits is a national first.

A vote in New York on whether to adopt recommended maximum contaminant levels in drinking water for three chemicals has been postponed a second time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, clean water advocates say they are disappointed with another delay.

Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler speaking Feb. 25, 2020.
Jackie Orchard / WAMC


Environmental groups, community activists and elected officials are ramping up concern over potentially dangerous burning in the city of Cohoes.

EPA Inches Toward PFAS Drinking Water Regulation

Feb 24, 2020

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the next step toward setting drinking water limits for two PFAS chemicals — PFOA and PFOS. Environmentalists say the step is small and they want to see quicker, bolder action.

WAMC file photo

There's a new air quality threat facing residents of Albany County.

WikiMedia Commons

Community and environmental advocates, along with some New York state lawmakers, are calling for the withdrawal of a proposed revision to recommended maximum contaminant levels for drinking water. Yet water suppliers welcome the revision that state health officials detailed Tuesday.

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An environmental group believes the class of toxic chemicals at the center of contamination crises in communities like Hoosick Falls and Newburgh can likely be detected in all major water supplies in the United States.

Several U.S. Reps Urge Passage Of PFAS Action Act

Jan 9, 2020
water droplet
USDA/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

Several Democratic U.S. House representatives are calling on their colleagues to pass a bill Friday concerning PFAS chemicals. It’s a bill that President Trump’s senior advisors will recommend he veto.

“Water, Water, Everywhere…” is the final production of Oldcastle Theatre Company's 48th season. The play is set in the office of a small town newspaper in the fictional small town of Walloomsac, Vermont as its reporters begin work on a story about a factory spewing (PFOA) from exhaust stacks that build up over years in the groundwater and soil.

Similar things happened in Bennington, Vermont and nearby Hoosick Falls, New York. But playwright and Oldcastle’s Producing Artistic Director, Eric Peterson, cautions that the play is fiction, not a documentary.

Much of the play revolves around the local newspaper which is facing a difficult financial situation and is in danger of closing. Two young reporters team up with a veteran editor to bring the story to their readers. Peterson, a former columnist for both the Bennington Banner and the Berkshire Eagle, has written often about Vermont themes in plays such as “Civil Union.”

A top environmental official in New Hampshire has told a Congressional hearing that the federal government should be leading the way in setting standards for a class of toxic chemicals that has caused widespread contamination in the state.

Environmental groups are urging the New York state Department of Health to lower recommended levels for three drinking water contaminants. A public comment period on the recommendations for PFOA and PFOS is now open.

Photo of a faucet
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

A New Hampshire legislative committee has voted to approve some of the nation's toughest drinking water standards for a class of toxic chemicals that have caused widespread contamination and sparked health concerns.

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Pixabay/Public Domain

Vermont's environmental agency has selected a consulting firm to conduct a study on one community's water issues.

The state of Vermont has released a new sampling plan for PFAS chemicals.

Photo of a faucet
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

The New York Public Interest Research Group has a new report showing the prevalence of emerging contaminants detected in the state’s public drinking water supplies. With a focus the past few years on PFOA and PFOS from Hoosick Falls to Newburgh, NYPIRG highlights other emerging contaminants.

Today, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee is holding a legislative hearing on a series of bills related to PFAS contaminants, a class of compounds discovered in water supplies across the country.

Bennington state Senator Dick Sears (right) discusses St. Gobain settlement
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont officials say the state has reached a final agreement with St. Gobain over properties in Bennington contaminated with PFOA.

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In the 1970’s, the U.S. Air Force began using a firefighting foam that contained the chemicals PFOS and PFOA, which have contaminated water supplies in communities across the Northeast.  The Air Force is now using a May 2016 lifetime health advisory level, or LHA, set by the EPA to determine safe levels and is cleaning up sites above acceptable levels.  A recent update indicates there are still a few homes affected near the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base.

Senator Chuck Schumer in East Greenbush, NY
WAMC photo by Dave Lucas

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer was in East Greenbush Wednesday to announce that the Environmental Protection Agency intends to set a Maximum Contaminant Level for PFOA/PFOS chemicals.

Voting reforms, civil justice changes, expansion of reproductive rights, state financial shortfalls, economic development strategies, all have dominated the recent discussions over the coming year’s New York budget. Yet one important issue has received too little attention: protecting New York’s drinking water supplies.

water droplet
USDA/Wikimedia Commons - Public Domain

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler Thursday laid out the agency’s action plan to address PFAS chemicals. PFOA and PFOS have contaminated drinking water in such New York communities as Hoosick Falls and Newburgh. Environmentalists say the plan doesn’t go far enough, and it’s up to states to take the lead.

EPA Rolls Out PFAS Action Plan

Feb 14, 2019

Earlier today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler laid out the agency’s action plan to address PFAS, a family of chemicals that includes PFOA and PFOS. PFOA and PFOS are toxic substances that have contaminated drinking water in a number of New York communities, including Hoosick Falls and Newburgh.

The Environmental Protection Agency logo
The Environmental Protection Agency

New York Democratic members of Congress are calling for action after news that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will not move to set limits for PFAS chemicals – a group of believed carcinogens found in several Northeast communities.