Lab Matters Fall 2017 - Page 9

feature Protecting Communities from Chemicals of Concern by Nancy Maddox, MPH, writer Hoosick Falls (population 3,600) is a rural river-bend village in upstate New York, about five miles from Vermont. Norman Rockwell and Grandma Moses both lived nearby, in a landscape adorned with rolling hills and the flowing waters of the Walloom and Hoosic rivers. Once upon a time, children flew down snowy village slopes on cast-off sheets of Teflon TM from the old, local Honeywell plant, according to the New York Times. But that was years ago. Long before Michael Hickey’s father died of kidney cancer in 2013. Before Hickey tested his widowed mother’s tap water for the perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) once used to make Teflon TM here. Before the test results came back positive, with levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) spiked above the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) “health advisory level” for drinking water—now set at 70 parts per trillion (ppt) PFOA and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) combined. PublicHealthLabs @APHL APHL.org Fall 2017 LAB MATTERS 7