Advocates Applaud NYS Attorney and Governor for Action on Toxics
First-in-nation lawsuit seeks to hold manufacturers of toxic PFAS firefighting foam accountable for costs of drinking water cleanup
Announcement comes as ATSDR finds minimum risk much lower than EPA, NYS Legislature fails to pass any two-house environmental health legislation this session
(Albany, NY - June 20, 2018) Today NY Attorney General Underwood and Governor Cuomo released a joint announcement that New York State is suing the makers of hazardous firefighting foam, to recover costs for cleaning up contaminated drinking water in numerous communities across the state. It comes as the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry released long-awaited toxicological profiles for a number of per-and poly-fluorinated chemicals, finding that minimum risk levels are in the single digits of parts per trillion, significantly lower than the threshold set by the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Clean and Healthy New York is issuing the following statement in response to these developments.
Kathleen Curtis, LPN, Executive Director of Clean and Healthy New York, said:
"Hazardous chemicals in firefighting foams contaminate our state's drinking water. These same chemicals come into our homes in non-stick pans, stainproof carpets, and waterproof fabrics. We applaud Attorney General Underwood and Governor Cuomo for their groundbreaking lawsuit to make the companies that produced these harmful chemicals bear the cost of cleaning them up.
"One of the liabilities companies should assume when they choose harmful chemistries is that they will be responsible for the cost to human health and the environment. We advocate that manufacturers seek the safest appropriate chemicals for their products and processes to avoid this liability, and the real harm it represents for families and our environment.
"New York's announcement comes on the same day the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) released their findings that minimum risk levels are in the single digits of parts per trillion, because of how harmful to human health per- and polyfluorinated chemicals can be. The ATSDR finds that per- and polyfluorinated chemicals contribute to liver damage, increases in cholesterol, increased risk of thyroid disease, asthma, and infertility, decreased response to vaccines, riskier pregnancies, and decreases in birth weight.
"Earlier this year, in another groundbreaking leadership move, the New York State Green Purchasing program adopted specifications to avoid these chemicals in single-use food packaging to prevent contamination of compost.
"All companies should take this as a signal that it is time to find safer materials.
"In a year in which no legislation to protect New Yorkers' health from the chemicals in their daily environment passed both houses, despite numerous worthy proposals, it is heartening to see such bold action by other branches of NYS government."
Ms. Curtis is available for interviews upon request. Please contact Bobbi at 518-708-3875 or reply to this email.
The joint announcement from NYS AG and Governor is here: https://ag.ny.gov/press-release/ag-underwood-and-gov-cuomo-announce-first-ever-state-suit-against-manufacturers-use
ATSDR's toxicological profiles are available here: https://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/06/atsdr_pfas_toxprofiles_study.html