New York environmental regulators are looking statewide for potential sites of groundwater contamination from a cancer-causing industrial chemical previously used to make Teflon and other non-stick, stain-resistant and water-repellent products.
The Department of Environmental Conservation sent formal surveys last week to more than 150 facilities that may have manufactured or used PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, said Peter Walke, the agency’s chief of staff. Responses are due to the department by July 15.
“If any facility is found to have discharged contamination into the community, the state will pursue those responsible to the fullest extent of the law,” Walke said.
The action follows an investigation and cleanup launched in January in the rural factory village of Hoosick Falls, where high levels of PFOA were found in drinking water in testing done in 2014 by a resident concerned about a perceived high cancer rate.
After the Hoosick Falls contamination was publicized in January, testing near similar factory sites in the region uncovered more contamination.
A group of Hoosick Falls residents and several state and federal elected officials are calling for a public hearing on why the state Department of Health didn’t tell residents not to drink their tap water until 18 months after the agency knew of the contamination, and then acted only under pressure from a federal official.