In the small Village of Hoosick Falls, 30 miles northeast of Albany, NY. There is a serious problem with the water supply.
This problem involves levels of PFOA in the water of the Village. PFOA is Perfluorooctanoic Acid, which is a necessary aid in processing and manufacturing Fluoropolymers. The properties of fluoropolymers are vast and valuable. For example, fluoropolymers are resistant to fire, and is repellent to oil, stain, grease, as well as water. This is important for using them in a non-stick cleaning product for cookware, or to use as a protective coating on clothing. There are plenty of uses of PFOA’s in industrial work, such as the fields of aerospace, automotive, building usage, and construction, just to name a few. Fluoropolymers are made with PFOA, however, the final forms of products do not contain PFOA.
How could this happen? Which brings us to the topic of water.
PFOA, or Perfluorooctanoic acid was found in the water supply of Hoosick Falls, NY. In a biomonitoring study, blood samples were collected for the residents and nearby residents of Hoosick Falls. These residents were asked to sign a consent form, as well as complete a questionnaire in order to fully evaluate their possible exposure to PFOA. The test would also contribute to learning more about the levels in the blood of people living in the area, as opposed to living in a different location.
There has been a temporary municipal filtration system placed in Hoosick Falls. It contains two granular activated carbon filters that removes PFOA from the public supply of water. The water supply passes through these filters because it enters the Village’s distribution system. The water runs through the first filter, it is sampled, runs through the second filter, and sampled again. This has been a very effective way of making sure the water is clean, and samples show that there is no detectable levels of PFOA after passing through the first filter.
This has lead to no detectable levels of PFOA throughout the Village distribution system. The filtration system has been monitored by the New York State Health Department and has effectively flushed out and cleaned the water in the distribution system. Residents were given instructions on how to flush their own pipes and plumbing. Samples have been collected throughout the entire Village, including homes, businesses, and storage tanks in order to identify the quality of water in Hoosick Falls. This is an effective way to test everything, without having to test every home. This treatment system should be fully operational in December 2016.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation will continue to install and sample the water filtration systems throughout homes, which will allow the residents to use the system for drinking and cooking use.
Additionally, the New York State Health Department will be checking levels of total cancers and specific types of cancers of Hoosick Falls residents from 1995 to 2013 to identify any trends of cancer rates that correlate to the Hoosick Falls water supply. The findings will be compared to data from the New York State Department of Health Cancer Registry.
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