- Associated Press - Friday, June 3, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - The average level of the toxic chemical PFOA in the blood of 2,000 Hoosick Falls residents was about 10 times that of the general population, the state Health Department said Friday.

The average level was 23.5 micrograms per liter, compared to 2-6 micrograms nationwide. By comparison, people living in a PFOA-contaminated area around a West Virginia DuPont facility had blood levels averaging as high as 228 micrograms per liter.

The chemical was used for decades in nonstick coatings and has been linked to cancer and other illness.

The Health Department said the blood PFOA level only tells about exposure to the chemical, not the likelihood of health effects. The level typically declines by half every 2-4 years after the exposure source, usually drinking water, is removed.

The Health Department has mailed test results and information packets to residents and is continuing testing as part of the state’s investigation of the village’s water supply contamination. The agency did not give a range of the highest and lowest levels found in the tests, which were done at the request of residents.

The Department of Environmental Conservation said Friday it has signed agreements with Honeywell International and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics to pay for the investigation and cleanup of PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, in public and private wells in the factory village near the Vermont border.

PFOA has been found in the tap water of dozens of towns near industrial sites where it was manufactured. DuPont, 3M and other U.S. chemical companies voluntarily phased it out in recent years.

New York started addressing PFOA contamination in Hoosick Falls in January under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency. The chemical has also been found in nearby Petersburgh and North Bennington, Vermont.

The state has overseen installation of a temporary filtration system on the Hoosick Falls municipal water supply and filters at homes where private well contamination was confirmed.

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