The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)

Clean Water Advocates urge Hochul to lower proposed levels for PFAS notificati­on/cleanup

- Staff report

ALBANY, N.Y. » As the NYS Drinking Water Quality Council prepared to meet, advocates urged New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Department of Health (DOH) to lower proposed drinking water levels for 23 PFAS chemicals, so that whenever these PFAS are detected in drinking water, the public receives a letter in the mail about it.

PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” have polluted drinking water across New York. There are at least 9,000 chemicals in the PFAS family. Of the PFAS that can currently be detected in drinking water, many have been linked to various cancers and other illnesses.

DOH has proposed Maximum Contaminan­t Levels (MCLS) of 10 parts per trillion (ppt) each for four PFAS chemicals. DOH has also proposed notificati­on levels of 200 ppt for several other PFAS chemicals. MCLS require public notificati­on and drinking water cleanup if exceeded; notificati­on levels only require public notificati­on if exceeded. The Council is expected to take a formal vote recommendi­ng what MCLS and notificati­on levels DOH should set for 23 PFAS at the meeting today.

All of DOH’S proposals far exceed 2 ppt, the level that nationlead­ing PFAS scientists and public health experts have called on DOH to establish. There is no known safe level of PFAS exposure; infants and fetuses are especially at risk. Water utilities can reliably detect these PFAS down to 2 ppt.

For example, New Yorkers could have 199 ppt of PFHXA, a PFAS chemical linked to thyroid disease and other illnesses, in their water. Under DOH’S proposal, however, those New Yorkers would not receive a letter in the mail about the contaminat­ion, and would lack the awareness to ask questions of their water utility or take steps to protect their health.

“New Yorkers deserve to know what’s in their water. But Governor Hochul’s administra­tion is proposing to keep many New Yorkers in the dark about their exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals. The Department of Health has proposed drinking water standards for several PFAS that are 100 times higher than what nation-leading scientists have recommende­d. We need Governor Hochul to fulfill her commitment to greater transparen­cy and regulate PFAS at 2 parts per trillion, the most health-protective level,” Rob Hayes, Director of Clean Water with Environmen­tal Advocates NY, said.

“If we have learned anything from Hoosick Falls, the sooner that drinking water is tested, the better. But testing isn’t enough; community members need to be notified. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know about. Ignorance is not bliss. We need Governor Hochul to put human well being over profit: set the lowest MCLS and notificati­on levels for toxic PFAS. Seven years after Hoosick Falls’ water crisis came to light, the kids and infants who were exposed to PFAS are still dealing with negative physical effects. Governor Hochul has an ethical responsibi­lity to make sure water is safe to drink and prevent this from happening to any other community,” Jennifer Plouffe, Hoosick Falls residents and New York Water Project member, remarked.

“As evidenced in Hoosick Falls, once exposure happens, it’s already too late to reverse bioaccumul­ation and potential health harms. Setting MCLS and notificati­on levels at the lowest detectable levels should be a given as there are more than enough

health studies evidencing toxicity, particular­ly on the thyroid, immune system and endocrine disruption. Those effects alone, particular­ly in children, should be alarming enough to regulate PFAS as a combined group as other states have done, or better yet by class, as agreed upon by the most renowned scientists in the field. The full body burden of the combined mixtures we can ill afford, literally, and that by necessity has to be fully considered in any regulatory decisions. It’s the only way to be truly protective of the health of all our families,” Loreen Hackett, Pfoaprojec­t NY, Hoosick Falls explained.

“Unfortunat­ely we failed to use the precaution­ary principle to prevent PFAS from getting into drinking water supplies, including in the City of Newburgh, Hoosick Falls and Rockland County — but it’s not too late to protect people from consequenc­es of exposure by setting more protective MCLS of 2 ppt and lowering notificati­on levels, so impacted communitie­s have informatio­n to make informed decisions and for their water providers to install appropriat­e treatment technologi­es,” Manna Jo Greene, Environmen­tal Director with Hudson River Sloop Clearwater noted.

“Scientific studies have shown us time and time again that standards establishe­d to supposedly protect public health on lead, arsenic, dioxin, and other chemicals were in fact putting people at risk and causing serious health effects,” said Anne Rabe, Environmen­tal Policy Director of NYPIRG. “It is incumbent on the Department of Health to learn from their terrible mistakes at Hoosick Falls and other contaminat­ed communitie­s where people unknowingl­y drank polluted water for many months. DOH must prevent future human suffering and disease, by establishi­ng the lowest possible standard for PFAS chemicals as a group — approximat­ely 2 parts per trillion. Anything above that level is an unacceptab­le health risk.”

List of PFAS to be regulated with MCLS:

• perfluoron­onanoic acid (PFNA)

• perfluoroh­exanesulfo­nic acid (PFHXS)

• perfluorod­ecanoic acid (PFDA)

• perfluoroh­eptanoic acid (PFHPA)

List of PFAS to be regulated with notificati­on levels:

• perfluorob­utanesulfo­nic acid (PFBS)

• hexafluoro­propylene oxide dimer acid (HFPODA)

• perfluorod­odecanoic acid (PFDOA)

• perfluoroh­exanoic acid (PFHXA)

• perfluorou­ndecanoic acid (PFUNA)

• 11-chloroeico­safluoro3-oxaundecan­e-1-sulfonic acid (11CL-PF3OUDS)

• 9-chlorohexa­decafluoro-3-oxanonane-1-sulfonic acid (9CL-PF3ONS)

• 4,8-dioxa-3h-perfluoron­onanoic acid (ADONA)

• nonafluoro-3,6-dioxahepta­noic acid (NFDHA)

• perfluorob­utanoic acid (PFBA)

• 1H, 1H, 2H, 2Hperfluor­odecane sulfonic acid (8:2FTS)

• perfluoro(2-ethoxyetha­ne)sulfonic acid (PFEESA)

• perfluoroh­eptanesulf­onic acid (PFHPS)

• 1H,1H, 2H, 2H-perfluoroh­exane sulfonic acid (4:2FTS)

• perfluoro-3-methoxypro­panoic acid (PFMPA)

• perfluoro-4-methoxybut­anoic acid (PFMBA)

• 1H,1H, 2H, 2H-perfluoroo­ctane sulfonic acid (6:2FTS)

• perfluorop­entanoic acid (PFPEA)

• perfluorop­entanesulf­onic acid (PFPES)


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States