JOIN US! Water Session 9.23.20 – Building Collective Power; Protecting the Health of Our Children & Community in the Face of PFAS & Lead

JOIN US! Water Session 9.23.20 – Building Collective Power; Protecting the Health of Our Children & Community in the Face of PFAS & Lead
September 24, 2020 NCWP_admin
NCWP Sept. 23, 2020 Water Session - Building Collective Power; Protecting Our Children & Community in the Face of PFAS & Lead

Calling all Moms, Nurses, Health Advocates & Students Interested in Public Health & Environmental Justice

For nearly 3 decades—up until 2016—Newburgh was exposed to toxic PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in their drinking water. "These "forever" chemicals—found in the firefighting foams used by Stewart Air National Guard and Stewart Airport that poisoned our watershed and community—are linked to cancers, thyroid disease, immune deficiencies, as well pregnancy and child development issues. You can read more about the health experiences of Newburgh residents in Tow Journalism Fellow, Shantal Riley's article in Vice Magazine, "The New York Water Crisis That Nobody's Talking About". While we currently get clean drinking water from NYC's Catskill Aqueduct, this source is temporary and not guaranteed. Meanwhile, the city is working to replace old lead services pipes in historic (pre-1940s) buildings where families may have been exposed.

For our September Water Session, we want to hear from you - your concerns, questions and health stories. We're bringing together Dr. Erin Bell of SUNY Albany School of Public Health, (co-lead on the Newburgh & Hoosick Falls PFAS Health Study), health advocates, nurses, mothers, and students to learn more about how PFAS can affect us—particularly our children, how to prevent further exposure, and to share local health resources while we fight for comprehensive care and cleanup.

We'll discuss the formation of a Community Advisory Panel to advise the PFAS health study, mentoring and job opportunities for high school and community college students interested in public health, and how we can work together for universal health coverage for all New Yorkers. And, back by popular demand, Reverend Lewis of Calvary Presbyterian Church will open the evening with song. Don't miss this great opportunity to build our collective power and demand clean water and health care for all.

Special Guests


Rev. Lewis is Pastor & Teaching Elder. He holds a Master of Divinity Degree and is a Certified Supervisor and Diplomate in the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) He teaches clergy and others in the art and skill of pastoral care and counseling. Rev. Lewis is also cofounder of the Forgiveness & Reconciliation Project and Mustard Seed Woodworks LLC. He and his community continually open up the Calvary Church to many organizations and guests - whether they are parishioners or not. Learn More


Erin is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences. Her research interests include examining the association of environmental exposures and adverse birth and child health outcomes, including neurodevelopment. She is particularly interested in the relationship between social factors and environmental exposures and their combined impact on child development. Dr. Bell is co-lead of the ATSDR-funded PFAS Health Study in Newburgh & Hoosick Falls, along with Dr. Elizabeth Lewis-Michl, Director of NYS Dept. of Health's Division of Environmental Health Assessment.

If you are interested in being part of the PFAS Health Study's Community Advisory Panel or have any questions about the study, please contact Erin Bell at: If you are a high school or community college student who is interested in helping with the PFAS Health Study, please contact: Maria Galluzzo to discuss mentoring and job opportunities at:  Learn More


Darcel is the former Health Chair of the Newburgh -Highland Falls NAACP, a Reiki practitioner, intuitive life coach and doula. She has transformed her own health through her holistic practice and vegan diet. An author, dancer and spoken word artist, Darcel's work has been featured at the Fourth National Black Writer's Conference and in publications including Essence, Mosaic and Rolling Out Magazines. She has danced on internationally renowned stages such as Harlem's Apollo Theater, and can be heard on "For Women", on the hip hop artist, Talib Kweli's Reflection Eternal CD. Darcel has also performed at numerous colleges, high schools, The Long Island National Urban League and at popular events such as "Liquid Language" at Barnes and Nobles and "Ladies on the Mic" at The Bowery Poetry Club. Darcel has been a featured author at The Harlem Book Fair, Word Canvas (Lit Noire Publishing Events) and Verses at The Nuyorican Poets' Café and has made a number of radio and television appearances. Learn More


Newburgh residents & dedicated community activists, Cynthia Gilkeson and Micha Miranda, co-founded Newburgh Matters this summer in the wake of brutal police killings of black and brown people across the nation. They are committed to addressing local issues of policing, poverty and affordable housing. Together with Caryn Sobel, founder of No Hate Here Newburgh, they host monthly Community Circles to listen, share resources, discuss City policies, and organize to advance equitable legislation. Cynthia is also a frontline health care aid, working with Seniors and Micha is a business owner, talented tattoo artist and the co-organizer of Newburgh’s peaceful protests in honor of Black Lives. Learn More


Wayne has been working for the City of Newburgh Water Department for 20 years. He is currently the Water Superintendent overseeing 19 employees, a 8.8 MGD purification plant, a distribution system for 30,000 residents and a 5 million dollar budget. Among other initiatives, he is currently working to secure sufficient funding to replace all the remaining lead services pipes in the City and conducting free lead and copper testing programs for residents who live in historic buildings (built prior to 1940) who may be at risk.

If you are interested in having your water tested or applying for the lead line replacement program, call the Water Department: (845) 565-3356. If you live outside the City and would like your well water tested, please contact the NYS Department of Health at (518) 402-7882 or  Learn More