PETERSBURGH, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A second hazardous chemical has shown up in water tests of private wells in Petersburgh, according to the Rensselaer County Health Department.
People are still coming to the town hall garage in Petersburgh to pick up bottled water because of PFOA contamination in private wells. But now they are concerned about a second chemical that has shown up in four water samples.
According to the Rensselaer County Health Department, out of 138 water samples taken in Petersburgh, so far four water samples of private wells have shown the presence of a second hazardous chemical called PFOS.
Private well #1: 2100 ppt of PFOS
Private well #2: 410 ppt
Private well #3: 410 ppt
Private well #4: 42 ppt
It is very similar to PFOA, and according to Dr. David Carpenter, the Director of the Institute for Health and Environment at UAlbany, it has also been linked to serious health issues.
“We don’t have a way of getting these chemicals out of the body,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important to not get them in the body to start with.”
Officials are trying to determine where the second chemical came from. Taconic Plastics has taken responsibility for PFOA contamination in Petersburgh, but the Rensselaer County Health Department said Taconic has informed them that they’ve never used PFOS.
“It’s very likely it was a by product of the manufacturer, and PFOA changed to PFOS,” Dr. Carpenter said. “They differ just by the sulfate group at the end of the molecule.”
Some in the area have questioned what did companies like Taconic replace PFOA with when they stopped using it. Carpenter said some still use a similar class of chemicals.
“Wouldn’t one assume that if this class of compounds has toxicity to the immune system, the hormonal system, it may increase the risk of certain kinds of cancer,” he said. “Just by changing the length of the molecule a little bit, it wouldn’t be safe.”
The Rensselaer County Health Department said next week it expects to have results back from re-test samples to double confirm the PFOS contamination, and they said they’ve notified the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and NYS Department of Health.