Read the full article by Rick Karlin (Times Union)
“HOOSICK FALLS — Lawsuits stemming from water pollution in the Hoosick Falls area recently saw a precedent of sorts when a federal appeals court upheld the plaintiffs’ request for ongoing medical monitoring of residents – if they ultimately prevail in court.
‘What the court said was this is a valid type of damages we can seek,’ said James Bilsborrow, who is representing village residents.
That means should his plaintiffs ultimately win their federal lawsuit against St. Gobain and Honeywell corporations, medical monitoring costs could be part of the damages.
Infographic: The lingering threat of PFAS
The defendants at the trial court level had earlier argued that state law prevents such damages. But Bilsborrow said that stemmed from another lawsuit with a different set of facts, and a federal appeals court agreed.
Lawsuits over PFOA contamination of the Hoosick Falls municipal water system and nearby private wells have been ongoing for more than a year. The cases are still in the relatively early stages. But the appellate court’s May 18 decision in the federal Second Circuit is important since it could apply to other similar actions stemming from contamination in nearby Petersburgh, as well as Newburgh and other locations.
The suits stemmed from revelations more than five years ago that PFOAs, or perfluorooctanoic acid, had leaked into the water from St. Gobain and Honeywell plants that made anti-stick chemicals. PFOAs are a key ingredient in these substances which are used in products like Teflon.
A temporary filtration system was placed on at village’s municipal plant, and filters were placed on individual private wells outside the village. State and local officials have been looking for alternative water sources to the existing wells that have long supplied the village’s water system.
Researchers believe that PFOAs are associated with a variety of illnesses including cancer and thyroid problems. After pressuring of state health and environmental officials, a new water system is being developed and residents have been tested for the PFOA levels in their blood – which are much higher than the national average…”