"HOOSICK FALLS, N.Y. — One resident called 911 asking whether the village’s water would burn his skin off. Families have lined up to have their blood drawn and their wells tested. Banks stopped giving out mortgages, and some local residents stopped washing their dishes, their clothes and themselves. Erin Brockovich has been to town.
Such are the unpleasant contours of a public health emergency that is playing out in Hoosick Falls, a quiet river-bend village near the New York-Vermont border that has been upended by disclosures that the public water supply was tainted with high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, a toxic chemical linked in some studies to an increased risk for cancer, thyroid disease and serious complications during pregnancy.
Last week, a federal class-action lawsuit was filed against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International, the current and former owners of the plant that, according to the state, was the source of the PFOA contamination. The toxic chemical is associated with the making of Teflon, which was used in products manufactured at the plant."