Toxic Chemical Scare in Albany, NY

With the FBI joining a criminal investigation of lead-contaminated drinking water in Flint, Michigan, exploring whether any laws were broken in a crisis that has captured international attention, a new toxic water scare comes out of Albany, NY.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police said today it’s investigating alleged dumping of illegal solid waste in a wooded area off Route 22 in Hoosick, New York, that may contain a toxic chemical that has contaminated the local water supply.

The DEC, acting on a tip it received from a concerned citizen, said it executed a search warrant on the site.

The agency is investigating whether the commercial waste materials that were allegedly dumped contain perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and if the soil is contaminated.

PFOA, a man-made material, is used in the production of nonstick cookware, stain-resistant carpets and fabric, and paper. The chemical can be harmful to human health and its use is being phased out.

A fact sheet by the EPA concerning PFOA says activated carbon filters, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis units have been shown to remove the chemical from drinking water.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer on Monday urged Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, the company whose Hoosick Falls plant is the suspected source of the contamination, to “do more” to help the village deal with the crisis.

The company is paying for free bottled water, as well as a temporary and permanent filtration system.