U.S. Provides $900K to Study PFOS, PFOA Contamination in New York State

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Satellite image of East Hampton Airport from the state DEC’s site survey for PFOS contamination. The areas in red are the four “Areas of Concern” where higher concentrations were found.

By Valerie Gordon

Two U.S. senators announced last week that the federal government has allocated nearly $900,000 in funding to conduct a New York State health study to analyze the harmful effects of emerging contaminants known as PFOS and PFOA.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand have been working together for several years to further analyze the compounds and any potential adverse health effects.

Last year, the senators secured $10 million to allow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to conduct a nationwide health study to determine the effects of PFAS in drinking water. In July 2018, the CDC released a report that linked the chemicals to certain cancers and other serious health effects.

The additional $890,851 in federal funding will be used to expand upon that study to further examine the extent of PFOA and PFOS through a biomonitoring program. The assessment will focus on impacted communities across New York, including several East End communities such as Hampton Bays, Wainscott, Westhampton, East Quogue and Sagaponack.

The CDC’s National Biomonitoring Program, involves measuring environmental chemicals in human tissues and fluids such as blood, urine, saliva and in some cases breast milk, according to the CDC’s website. Scientists can then identify the chemicals, quantify how much of those chemicals are in a person’s bloodstream, and further develop, treat and prevent diseases caused by the toxins.

“I have long called for the CDC to conduct blood testing for New York residents so that they can better understand what PFAS exposure means for their health … and this will do just that,” Ms. Gillibrand said. “This is an important step forward.”

New York State is one of six recipients of the federal funding and is expected to receive a total of roughly $5 million over the course of five years to complete the study.

“No matter where they live, the people of New York deserve to know they aren’t being made sick by their drinking water,” Mr. Schumer said.