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“COHOES – Next week the Cohoes Common Council will vote on a measure that would stop the burning of PFAS chemicals at the Norlite plant.

Norlite said they’re not burning any of the PFAS chemicals right now, but Cohoes Mayor Bill Keeler said they do plan to start testing burning it again in May or June.

That’s why Keeler asking Common Council to pass a one-year moratorium on burning the chemicals in the city.  He believes that will give state lawmakers enough time to pass more widespread legislation.

NewsChannel 13 spoke with two longtime residents of Saratoga Sites, a public housing complex located a few hundred yards from the plant, about Keeler’s plan.

‘I hope something gets done before someone gets really seriously sick,’ Saratoga Sites resident Debbie Hill said.

Hill has lived at Saratoga Sites for 25 years. She said the dust, debris and odor from Norlite are inescapable.

‘You’re breathing it, you’re eating it, you’re washing with it,’ Hill said. ‘It doesn’t dissolve, it’s there. You could be walking down the street and feel it hitting your face.’

The apartment complex is only a few hundred yards away from two smokestacks on Norlite’s property.

‘I’ve got 70 families here in Saratoga sites that are literally in the shadows of the smokestacks and this is an urban area, Cohoes, Watervliet, Green Island, Troy and that’s where the winds will take this stuff.’

Keeler said the problem is there is no established threshold to determine what level of PFAS chemicals is or isn’t safe in the air the way it has been for water, as we’ve clearly seen in places like Hoosick Falls.

‘I met with the folks from Norlite I mean they have a different take on this,’ Keeler said. ‘They feel confident that it’s safe to do so. I don’t have that confidence that it’s safe to burn, particularly in an urban area.’

Joe Ritchie has lived at Saratoga Sites for nearly 19 years. He agrees with Keeler, we still don’t know enough about the effects it could have on the surrounding environment.

‘They say it’s OK because there’s no research yet to say that it’s not OK,’ Ritchie said. ‘So you’re saying, ‘Oh it’s fine,’ but you have no idea what it does,’ Ritchie said…”