Weitz & Luxenberg announced today it is investigating the scale of chemical perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) contamination in the Newburgh, NY water supply. The announcement comes after the City of Newburgh detected the chemical in Silver Stream and Washington Lake.
”PFOS contamination poses a serious health threat, and residents of Newburgh are right to be concerned about its presence in their drinking water,” said Robin Greenwald, head of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Unit at Weitz & Luxenberg. ”Members of this community deserve to know the risks posed to them by ingesting this chemical, as well as who is responsible for contaminating their waterways, and our investigation will seek to answer those questions.”
PFOS is used in a variety of products including as surface treatments for textiles, paper and metals and for soil and stain resistance. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), studies have suggested that exposure to high levels of PFOS could have developmental, reproductive and other systemic effects. After detecting elevated levels of PFOS in Washington Lake and Silver Stream, the City of Newburgh announced on May 2, 2016 it would stop using Washington Lake as the city’s main source of drinking water until further notice.
Weitz & Luxenberg recently announced similar investigations into water contamination in Vermont and New Hampshire, and in February filed a federal class action lawsuit against two companies on behalf of residents of Hoosick Falls, NY, who reported falling ill after drinking and cooking with chemical-contaminated water. In Hoosick Falls, testing had identified the presence of PFOA, a similar chemical in the municipal water supply. As a result, the EPA recommended that residents use bottled water for drinking and cooking so long as the detection level of PFOA in the water remained over 100 parts per trillion (ppt). The City of Newburgh has confirmed that the level of PFOS in its municipal system was around 150 ppt and had been at that level for the past two years.