Read the article by Lana Bellamy (Times Herald-Record)

“CITY OF NEWBURGH – A national study looking at exposure to PFAS in communities with a history of contaminated drinking water, including Newburgh, has resumed after a months-long delay caused by COVID-19.

Scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry updated participating communities in a virtual meeting Thursday evening.

Much of the time was spent discussing findings from other communities included in the study, including Hampden County, Massachusetts; Berkeley County, West Virginia; New Castle County, Delaware; and Spokane County, Washington.

An information session to kick off the study in Newburgh was held at the Activity Center in mid-February, a few weeks before COVID-19 forced study leaders to halt its recruitment of participants from random Newburgh households.

Representatives at Thursday’s virtual meeting said a specific restart date has not been determined but promised that Newburgh participants will soon be notified of how to reschedule appointments to collect blood and urine samples.

The study is the first of its kind in the U.S. that will take a wide look at the health effects associated with exposure to PFAS, a large group of toxic, man-made chemicals used in industry and commercial products since the 1950s.

Research suggests that people with high levels of PFAS in their bodies tend to experience high cholesterol, low birth weights, increased risk for kidney and testicular cancer and a decreased response to childhood vaccines.

In 2016, high levels of PFAS were discovered in Newburgh’s drinking water system at the time, Washington Lake. Studies conducted then determined the contamination came from use and spills of firefighting foams at Stewart Air National Guard Base.

Since then, Newburgh has drawn its drinking water from New York City’s Catskill Aqueduct. The Browns Pond reservoir is used as a backup source.”