Sitting on the Hudson, the city of Newburgh has approximately 28,000 people living within its borders, the majority of whom are from working class families. The city gets its drinking water from Lake Washington, which is nearby the Stewart Air National Guard Base. For years, the air base has used firefighting foam, which contains two dangerous chemicals. These chemicals have been detected in Lake Washington, which means that in addition to crime and poverty, citizens of Newburgh now have a new concern to cope with: contaminated drinking water.
Water Contamination in the City Poses Serious Risks
Tap water in the city of Newburgh is contaminated with two very dangerous chemicals: perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The chemicals are found in a variety of different materials, including firefighting foam, stain-resistant materials, and non-stick teflon. According to an article published by CBS News, levels of the chemicals in the city’s drinking water registered at 170 parts per trillion (PPT); the federal limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency is 70 ppt, meaning that levels of the chemicals in Newburgh are more than double the limit for short-term exposure.
The Effects of PFOA and PFOS Exposure
Whether or not citizens of Newburgh will be negatively affected by exposure to the two toxic chemicals is unknown. The city is encouraging its residents to to get blood tests to determine the levels of PFOA and PFOS in the body. Challenging for the city, however, is getting the news out about PFOS/PFOA and blood tests – nearly half of households in the city speak a language other than English, and more than one-third of residents live in poverty. The city is working to translate information to Creole and Spanish, and working with community leaders to spread information.
If residents do have PFOS/PFOA in their blood, the fallout could be devastating. PFOA/PFOS exposure has been linked to a number of terrible health concerns, including thyroid problems, cancer of the kidneys, testicular cancer, development delays and birth defects, and immunodeficiency.
What Are My Rights if I Live in Newburgh?
If you live in Newburgh and believe that you have been exposed to PFOA/PFOS in your drinking water and have suffered health consequences as a result, it is important that you have your blood tested for PFOA and PFOS immediately. If levels of the two chemicals in your blood are above normal levels, you should take action by calling our experienced environmental toxin attorneys at the law offices of Napoli Shkolnik PLLC today.
Our attorneys are passionate about representing the victims of environmental crises such as this, and holding parties liable for their actions. You have the right to safe drinking water – if your drinking water is contaminated, your rights have been violated and you deserve to be compensated for your harm.
We handle all costs associated with pursuing your case for you, and charge on a contingency fee basis. To learn more about your rights and how our team can help, call us today for your free consultation.