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Newburgh awaits action on blood tests

Sep 09, 2016 6:00 am

Scott Waldman is reporting at Politico New York the state is still without a plan to conduct blood tests for the thousands of Newburgh residents who likely consumed polluted water over the years. in Newburgh, the public water supply tested for more than twice the federal safety limit of PFOS, a toxic, cancer-linked chemical in May. No one knows the contamination levels of the 30,000 people in Newburgh, which has a largely minority and low-income population, because widespread blood testing has not been conducted, as it has in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh in Rensselaer County, two towns affected by PFOA pollution. Newburgh's city manager has been calling for the tests for months. So has the environmental group Riverkeeper. Dan Shapley, Riverkeeper's water quality program manager, said the city's residents deserve to know if their health is at risk. “Comprehensive health screening, consisting of blood testing, and bio-monitoring, has not been made available to city residents,” he said. Shapley drew a comparison to how the situation has been handled in Hoosick Falls and in Petersburgh. He said, "It is unconscionable and unjustifiable to treat these impacted communities differently.” On Wed., Sept. 7, state health commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said he was awaiting guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to determine what to do about biomonitoring in Newburgh. Zucker said the state’s priority was to get the city’s water supply off of water tainted with PFOS. Read the full story at Politico New York.