February 01, 2016

Senator Gillibrand Urges EPA to Expedite its Response to Address Water Contamination in Hoosick Falls

Gillibrand pushes for aggressive steps on the federal level to support the State of New York’s ongoing efforts

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) urging the agency to expedite its response to address water contamination in the Village of Hoosick Falls and take immediate federal action to support and augment the State of New York’s ongoing efforts.

“I am extremely concerned by the presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in Hoosick Falls, given that studies have linked exposure to PFOA with increased detrimental health effects, including testicular and kidney cancer and thyroid disease,” said Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “The residents of Hoosick Falls deserve to know that every available resource at both the state and federal levels is being used to fully investigate the source of the PFOA contamination, and that aggressive steps are being taken by the EPA to identify the responsible parties and ensure that full remediation will occur.”

The Village of Hoosick Falls, located in Rensselaer County, is home to approximately 3,400 residents. Perfluorooctanoic acid, commonly known as PFOA, has been discovered in the community’s environment. PFOA is a toxic chemical used to make non-stick coating for household items and commercial products, among other products. Groundwater testing in Hoosick Falls has shown high levels of PFOA. The EPA recently issued an advisory recommending that residents of Hoosick Falls avoid using the water for cooking and drinking. PFOA exposure has been linked to an increased risk in testicular and kidney cancer and thyroid disease.

The complete text of the letter is below:

February 1, 2016

The Honorable Judith Enck

Regional Administrator

Environmental Protection Agency Region 2

290 Broadway

New York, NY 10007-1866

Dear Regional Administrator Enck,

I am writing to urge you to expedite the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s response under the Compensation Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, which authorizes the federal Superfund program, to address water contamination in the Village of Hoosick Falls, New York.  The presence of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has been identified in the village's municipal water source, putting hundreds of residents at risk.  I am extremely concerned by the presence of PFOA in Hoosick Falls, given that studies have linked exposure to PFOA with increased detrimental health effects, including testicular and kidney cancer and thyroid disease.  Uncertainty about the specific amounts and source of PFOA in the environment, and the duration of potential exposure, poses a serious health and safety risk to this community.

On January 27, 2016, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) and the New York State Department of Health (NYDOH) will take action to study, identify and remediate any potential sources of PFOA under New York State Superfund law.  I urge you to take immediate federal action to support and augment the state's ongoing efforts.  The residents of Hoosick Falls deserve to know that every available resource at both the state and federal levels is being used to fully investigate the source of the PFOA contamination, and that aggressive steps are being taken by the EPA to identify the responsible parties and ensure that full remediation will occur.  Any delay in federal action could put at risk the residents of Hoosick Falls and their families, whose health and economic well-being are affected daily by this ongoing water crisis.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter, and I request that you keep my office informed, on a weekly basis, of the steps EPA is taking to address these concerns.

Sincerely,

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator