Study of PFOA’s Health Effects must Continue
The results of a health questionnaire designed by the project “Understanding PFOA” from Bennington College, released on 8/21/18, should strengthen the resolve of local governments, health officials and community leaders to further our understanding of the adverse effects of exposure to PFOA, the dangerous, but long unregulated chemical now found in the drinking water across wide stretches of New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Responses to the questionnaire, from 443 residents of Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, New York and Bennington, Vermont,* reflected an high incidence of illnesses that have been associated with PFOA, including kidney and testicular cancer, ulcerative colitis, and thyroid disease. Remarkably, the numbers of these diseases reported in the Bennington study were significantly larger than those reported by the New York Department of Health in 2017. The numbers of reported cancers were also higher than DOH’s “baseline for concern.”
Citizens of Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh have been exposed to environmentally discharged PFOA for decades. Blood testing has revealed concentrations of PFOA in their bodies at many times the national “average.”
Due only to the adverse publicity generated by lawsuits, media exposes and citizen activism, PFOA is no longer widely used in industry. However, it continues to pollute the environment and pose a risk to the families who have lived in proximity to its former users. While it is now too late to have the government subject PFOA manufacturers and users to the regulatory scrutiny they should have received, it is certainly time to bring to light a full understanding of the chemical’s effects, and to hold accountable those who permitted their spread.
By: Gerald J. Williams
*Williams Cedar represents plaintiffs from Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh in current claims for PFOA-related damages. For more information, call our legal team today at 215-557-0099 or submit an online inquiry.