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The water depended upon by the people of Hoosick Falls, New York, for drinking and cooking is contaminated with PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid).
PFOA has been linked to several potentially serious illnesses, including cancer. The PFOA contamination of Hoosick Falls’ water supply elevates the risk of these health problems because it far exceeds levels deemed safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and New York State health officials.
Hoosick Falls is a village of approximately 3,500 people in central upstate New York. The surrounding area was once home to a number of manufacturing plants, a few of which still remain.
Some of those facilities utilized PFOA in their manufacturing processes. A synthetic acid and surfactant, PFOA is used in no-stick pots and pans, dental floss, floor wax and strippers, and treatments to make clothing and upholstery resistant to spills and stains. These companies discharged waste containing PFOA into the environment.
The PFOA contamination problem could date back many decades. While the duration and scope of the contamination remains subject to investigation, the residents of Hoosick Falls had no knowledge of the contamination until very recently. Indeed, when local efforts first revealed the water contamination, local officials dismissed or otherwise played down the potential risks and dangers.
Now, residents of Hoosick Falls are developing significant illnesses at an unusual and alarming rate. These illnesses are taking a toll on the people of Hoosick Falls.
Hoosick Falls residents are more frequently calling in too sick to go to work. Their children are more often missing school due to illness. Young and old alike are making more trips to doctors’ offices and treatment centers.
Property values are also in decline. The plant where PFOA was used has been declared a State Superfund site. This designation drives away prospective homebuyers. Further, individuals cannot refinance their homes because banks are unwilling to loan money on an asset with diminished value. Residents who wanted to sell their homes in the near future now feel stuck.
Medical research published in peer-reviewed journals has linked PFOA with several serious health conditions. These include:
The amount of exposure to PFOA necessary to induce health problems is very small. One-half of one part-per-billion is enough to create a risk of injury in humans. That concentration is the equivalent of half a single drop of water placed in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
The problem of PFOA contamination is compounded by the fact that PFOA does not dissipate once it finds its way into the environment – or finds its way inside a person.
Weitz & Luxenberg has filed a lawsuit against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International, claiming that the companies are the sources of the Hoosick Falls PFOA contamination.
The lawsuits will demand that the defendant companies restore W&L’s clients from Hoosick Falls and environs to their rightful position – the position they would be in but for the harm done to them by PFOA contamination. Learn more about the class action lawsuit filed, In Hoosick Falls, W&L Files Federal Class-Action Lawsuit Against Saint-Gobain and Honeywell.
The class action also seeks the establishment of a medical monitoring program that will protect the health of property owners and help insure an early detection of those ailments linked with exposure to PFOA.
Helping W&L work with affected Hoosick Falls residents is well-known environmental activist Erin Brockovich.
Together, W&L and Ms. Brockovich are laying the groundwork for plaintiffs to seek compensation for:
As a nationally recognized personal injury law firm, Weitz & Luxenberg is committed to helping clients win cases. For more than 25 years, we have dedicated ourselves to holding irresponsible practitioners accountable, and we have won $17 billion for our clients.
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