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What is PFOA and why is it in our water?

Our health depends on clean drinking water – but for too many families in America, that’s not what comes out of their kitchen taps.

That’s certainly been the case for New Yorkers in the upstate community of Hoosick Falls, where over the past two years, public drinking water has been shown to contain dangerously high levels of an industrial agent called PFOA – a chemical linked to many adverse health effects, including cancer, hormone disruption, and heart disease.

PFOA contamination has created a public health crisis in Hoosick Falls that demands urgent action – and we know that other communities could be at risk. Recent studies show that these same kinds of chemicals have been found in 94 water districts in 27 states – including right here on Long Island.

It’s important to note that levels of PFOA found in our water on Long Island are nowhere near the high levels found in places like Hoosick Falls. But it’s also important to recognize that new scientific research has raised major questions about what can be considered a safe concentration of PFOA in drinking water.

This problem isn’t going away. We need to take comprehensive action at the state and federal levels to ensure that these chemicals don’t threaten the public health in any community in America. That’s why earlier this year, I called on the EPA to identify a truly safe level of PFOA exposure and set a stricter, legally enforceable limit for PFOA concentrations in public drinking water.

The federal government has a responsibility to ensure our public water supply isn’t contaminated with dangerous chemicals – and the Environmental Protection Agency has the authority to act on this issue.

With your support, I’ll keep working hard in Congress to ensure the water we drink and the air we breathe is clean and safe for our children and communities.


Posted on August 22, 2016.
Photo by Joe Mabel
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Kathleen Rice represents New York's Fourth Congressional District on Long Island. A career prosecutor, Kathleen is a progressive Democrat known for her independent style and ability to work with people from both parties to take on big problems.

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