Community Health

The EPA's Health Advisories indicate that exposure to PFOA and PFOS over certain levels <br>may result in adverse health effects, including developmental effects to fetuses<br> during pregnancy or to breastfed infants (e.g., low birth weight, accelerated puberty, skeletal variations), cancer (e.g., testicular, kidney), liver effects (e.g., tissue damage), immune effects (e.g., antibody production and immunity), thyroid effects and other effects (e.g., cholesterol changes). What can you do?

Photo © Lauren Berg

PFAS EXPOSURE

Nearly 30K residents and workers in the City of Newburgh who drank tap water between the early 1990s and May 2016 were exposed to a toxic class of chemicals known as Perfluorochemicals, (or PFAS for short). This is due to the pollution of Lake Washington, the City's main drinking water reservoir during that time period.

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) conducted its first biomonitoring program between Nov. 2016 and Dec. 2017, offering free blood testing for City of Newburgh residents and workers. 3,763 people participated and were tested for six PFAS chemicals. Three of those chemicals—PFAS, PFOA and PFHxS—were found to be elevated well above the national average.

Of adults (18+ yrs) who drank City water and were in the 50th percentile, PFOS levels were found to be 20.1 mcg/L—nearly four times the national average of 5.2. Children (below 18 yrs) in the same sector were found to have PFOS levels of 8.3 mcg/L.
SOURCE: NYSDOH

FREE BLOOD TESTING

If you think you've been affected, you can contact the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) to receive a free blood test, under their expanded biomonitoring program. Testing is available by appointment at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp. To participate:

Call 1-800-801-8092 to request a laboratory order.

Once you receive lab order, make an appointment with one of the sites below by calling or going online,

Take your lab order to your appointment to receive your free blood test. Your results will be mailed to you and will inform you of any exposure to the PFAS chemicals: PFOS, PFOA and PFHxS.

It is anticipated that NYSDOH will begin a second round of investigative blood testing in 2020, to see if the levels of all three PFAS chemicals are decreasing now that people are no longer drinking tainted water. This testing is open to all City of Newburgh residents and workers, regardless of whether or not you participated in the first round of testing.

To inquire about blood testing, contact NYSDOH at (518) 402-7950 or beoe@health.ny.gov.

PFAS TOXICITY

According to Boston University's Superfund Research Program, PFAS are a large group of man-made toxic chemicals that are used to make consumer products resistant to water, grease or stains. Common products include Gore-Tex rain gear, Teflon no-stick cookware and Scotchguard stain-repellent for carpets or furniture fabric. PFAS have also been used in firefighting foams. If you live in the U.S. you likely have some PFAS in your body. PFAS exposure is linked to serious medical problems, including:

— Kidney cancer and testicular cancer
— Impaired liver function
— Impaired fertility
— Impaired fetal development
— Chronic intestinal inflammation
— Disruption of critical thyroid hormones
— Weakened immune system
— High cholesterol
— A potentially fatal complication of pregnancy called preeclampsia
— Elevated blood pressure during pregnancy

PFAS persist in the environment and the human body, taking several years to breakdown. The chemicals' decomposition is measured by half-lives: the amount of time it takes for the original amount to decrease by 50%. Half-lives differ for each PFAS chemical, ranging from an estimated 2-4 years for PFOA, 5 years for PFOS, and 8.5 years for PFHxS, according to the NIH. Health studies are being conducted to understand the correlation between exposure and health effects.

SOURCES: EPA | ATSDR | NIH | EARTHJUSTICE | BOSTON UNIVERSITY SRP
Photo © Lauren Berg

HEALTH STUDY — CDC/ATSDR SEEK APPLICANTS ON A MULTI-SITE HEALTH STUDY; NYSDOH AND SUNY ALBANY TO COLLABORATE WITH NEWBURGH & HOOSICK FALLS ON APPLICATION

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) are soliciting research applications to conduct a multi-site study on the human health effects of exposures to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) through drinking water.

"The study researchers will work to recruit at least 2,000 children (ages 4-17) and 6,000 adults (ages 18 and older) from communities who have been exposed to PFAS-contaminated drinking water. The study is designed to gather information about the relationship between PFAS exposure and health outcomes that can be applied to exposed communities across the nation, including those not selected for the study. Understanding the relationship between exposure and health outcomes will allow communities and governmental agencies to make science-based decisions about how to protect public health. The findings will also help prepare people to discuss exposures with their health care providers and take steps to monitor their health, as needed."
SOURCE: CDC/ATSDR

New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) in partnership with research scientists at SUNY Albany have invited Newburgh and Hoosick Falls communities to be part of their application for this study. We will be notified in the Fall of 2019 if our application has been accepted. On April 1, 2019, the CDC and ATSDR released a draft protocol for the study.

HEALTH STUDY — NYSDOH CANCER REGISTRY

New York State's Department of Health is conducting an investigation to see if there are unusual elevations of cancer among Newburgh area residents. The investigation is looking at total cancers and specific types of cancer diagnosed from 1995 through 2013 (latest available data), using the data from the NYS Cancer Registry, which receives reports on all cases of cancer within the state. The current public registry only reflects data for the 5 largest cities in upstate NY along with NYC and some of the larger downstate towns.

NCWP advocates that this investigation be carried out in collaboration with community health groups and St. Luke's hospital and that findings be made public and accessible to all affected residents.

HEALTH STUDY — CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) & AGENCY FOR TOXIC SUBSTANCES AND DISEASE REGISTRY (ATSDR) PFAS HUMAN EXPOSURE ASSESSMENT

FEBRUARY 21, 2019

Orange County, NY is one of the communities selected by CDC & ATSDR to be assessed for its human exposure, due to the PFAS contamination caused by Stewart Air National Guard Base, (now a Superfund Site), that affected 30K+ residents in the City of Newburgh and surrounding areas.

"The assessments are expected to begin in 2019 and continue through 2020 and are laying the groundwork for CDC/ATSDR’s future multi-site health study that will look at the relationship between PFAS exposure and health outcomes."