Senate Republican Leader John J. Flanagan and Senators Ken LaValle and Phil Boyle today called on New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to immediately implement strict limits on PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) and PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) levels in drinking water. The contaminants – which come from plastics like Teflon pots and pans – can cause cancer, birth defects and serious health problems.
The call to action comes as the federal Environmental Protection Agency delays its decision to regulate levels of these toxic chemicals in drinking water nationally.
New Yorkers already knows the consequence of unwanted substances seeping into water. In late 2015, plastic product contaminants were discovered in Hoosick Falls’ water supply, its origin being the local Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant. A 2018 Bennington College survey of area residents found 31 cases of kidney cancer, 11 cases of testicular cancer, 231 cases of thyroid problems, and numerous other illnesses.
Senate Republicans spearheaded an investment of $2.5 billion in water infrastructure and safety projects to remove contaminants, protect the environment, and keep drinking water clean.
“We cannot take a drip, drop approach when it comes to the health and safety of our residents. The New York State Health Department must act now because we cannot wait another day for action on a federal level or spend anymore time talking about state regulation. The time is now. We will not allow Long Island or any other part of this state to become another Hoosick Falls,” said Senate Republican Leader Flanagan.
“There have been detections of PFOA and PFOS in multiple locations on the East End of Long Island. It is time that New York State takes the lead role in protecting our residents’ drinking water. The State Health Commissioner must immediately impose more stringent limits on these chemicals, in addition to establishing proper guidelines for detection and remediation. We must protect the public’s health now,” said Senator LaValle.
“The New York State Department of Health must act immediately to safeguard against these dangerous chemicals. Whether they live on Long Island, in Hoosick Falls, or in Buffalo, New Yorkers need to have their drinking water protected,” said Senator Boyle.
As in other regions of the state, PFOA and PFOS have become a major cause for concern on Long Island. The New York Public Interest Research Group recently released a report on contaminated water across the state using EPA data, and found supplies on Long Island with high levels of PFOA and PFOS levels. Areas include the Suffolk County Water Authority, the Hampton Bays Water District, Town of Hempstead Water District, Water Authority of Western Nassau, Garden City Park Water District, and the Bethpage Water District, among others.