HOOSICK FALLS — A health survey conducted by Bennington College, several scientists and former environmental regulators found a higher incidence of cancer in people exposed to PFOA in several local communities than had been estimated by the state Health Department.
HOOSICK FALLS —一项由本宁顿学院的科学家和前环境监管人员组成的团队主导的健康调查发现在当地的几个社区暴露于PFOA环境中具有更高的癌症发病率，要比州健康部门早先估计的要更高的发病率。
The survey also found high rates of other serious diseases linked to PFOA exposure among residents who worked at or lived near manufacturing plants that for decades had used the toxic chemical at facilities in Hoosick Falls, Petersburgh and Bennington, Vt.
The findings, released Tuesday morning, reveal significantly more cases of cancer than had been estimated by the New York State Health Department in a June 2017 report. That study relied on data from the state cancer registry and examined current and former residents within boundaries delineated by zip codes, rather than proximity to the factories the spewed the chemical from their stacks.
Elevated levels of PFOA were found in the village of Hoosick Falls' public water system in 2014. The state Health Department and village officials were later criticized because they waited roughly 16 months — and faced pressure from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — before they warned the public to stop drinking the water.
The discovery of the chemical in Hoosick Falls by a resident, Michael Hickey, set off a wide-ranging examination of PFOA contamination in several Rensselaer County communities and across New York and the northeast United States.
The fallout of the pollution included thousands of residents, including young children, testing positive for elevated levels of PFOA in their blood. The resulting public outrage helped pressure the EPA to lower the recommended level of PFOA in drinking water from 440 parts per trillion to 70 parts per trillion.(民众的愤怒使得EPA降低了当地饮用水用的PFOA浓度由440ppt至70ppt)
High levels of the toxic chemical were found at four sites in the village of Hoosick Falls, including at a manufacturing plant adjacent to the village's water treatment plant. （一个氟材料加工厂在村子的水处理工厂旁边）Those areas have since been designated as Superfund sites.
The state's report examining cancer rates in the residents of residents in that area did not examine other health conditions that have been linked to long-term PFOA exposure, including colitis, preeclampsia, thyroid disease, high cholesterol and respiratory problems.
The Health Department report found no cases of testicular cancer in Hoosick Falls, where at least two manufacturing facilities had used PFOA for decades. （两个工厂用PFOA几十年之久）The Bennington College report, however, confirmed nine cases of that type of cancer in current or former village residents.
The report released Tuesday by Bennington College researchers also found — in addition to 31 cases of kidney cancer and a total of 11 cases of testicular cancer — that 231 people in the three communities had been diagnosed with thyroid disease, 35 with pregnancy-induced hypertension, and 71 with ulcerative colitis.
State Health Department officials said they were supportive of the survey efforts by Bennington College and have urged the federal government to include Hoosick Falls in a broader health study.
The state's analysis looked only at people who had been reported to be diagnosed with cancer between 1994 and 2014, in part because those were the years for which electronic data was available. The Health Department's report, which was widely criticized for its methodology, revealed much lower rates of some forms of cancer linked to long-term PFOA exposure — testicular, kidney and thyroid — but revealed there were 91 cases of lung cancer during the study period, far above the expected rate of 65 for a village the size of Hoosick Falls, where the population is about 3,400 people.
David Bond, a Bennington College professor who helped lead the health survey released Tuesday, said their study was not limited to a set time period and relied on confirmation from individuals diagnosed with a disease or the accounts of their surviving relatives.
"Residents have legitimate and still unaddressed health concerns relating to PFOA exposure four years after the toxic chemical was found in their drinking water," Bond said. "The results of this questionnaire give credence to the growing health concerns of these residents."
He said some local residents afflicted with the type of cancers linked to PFOA exposure have struggled to keep up with their medical costs and, in some instances, relied on GoFundMe campaigns to help pay for their treatment.
"This is unacceptable," Bond said. "Victims of toxic pollution should never have to pay for their own medical treatment. The polluters should be required to fund the new healthcare needs PFOA has brought to these communities."
The questionnaire had generated 443 responses in which individuals or their relatives confirmed a diagnosis of one of the diseases targeted in the study.
The grassroots survey was not sanctioned by a government agency.（这项草根调查没有得到政府的批准）
Critics of the state's cancer-study methodology have said the investigation did not take into account residents diagnosed with cancer after moving away from the village. Most cancer registries — including New York's — list a person's address at the time they are diagnosed.
The Health Department last year released a letter that it signed with five other states calling on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to undertake a multi-state health study using data from a multitude of communities where perfluorinated chemicals have contaminated drinking water supplies. It's unclear whether that request resulted in a review.
Judith Enck, a former regional administrator for the federal EPA, worked with Bennington College on the informal survey and had called on the state Health Department to do more "bio-monitoring" of residents in Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh.
"We did this with students and volunteers and squeezed it in on the weekends," Enck said. "We found nine testicular cancers and 17 kidney cancers in the village of Hoosick Falls, and we think our numbers are a vast underestimate. Can you imagine if you're the state Health Department with paid staff who could have blanketed these communities with surveys?"
Enck said the results also underscore the need to conduct longterm medical monitoring of residents of the communities.
Brad Hutton, a deputy commissioner with the state Health Department, said the agency is coordinating a second round of blood testing for residents in the Hoosick Falls area. Hutton said roughly 3,000 people in that area have had their blood tested for PFOA — part of roughly 6,000 blood tests done statewide in places such as Newburgh and Long Island, where PFOA contamination has also been an issue.
"We’re optimistic that we’ll be able to demonstrate a reduction in levels (of PFOA) for residents that participated in both round 1 and round 2" of the blood testing," Hutton said. He said those results would also help reassure residents that the carbon-filtration systems are eliminating PFOA from their drinking water.（活性碳过滤可以消除PFOA）
Taconic, a plastics company in Petersburgh, first alerted the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 2005 about its discovery of the toxic chemical in the groundwater around its plant on Route 22. At the time, the discovery did not result in any public notification or additional investigation by the state, officials said.
The EPA has no record that the company or state DEC notified the federal agency about the situation at that time.
In 2005, Taconic installed a carbon-filter system on the wells at its plant along the Little Hoosic River after discovering low levels of the chemical. The company also provided alternative water treatment systems for nearby residents. Taconic's plant makes specialty products including silicone-coated fabrics and tapes.