New York State Department of Health and UAlbany to Recruit Participants for National PFAS Health Study
ALBANY, N.Y. (January 11, 2022) – The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the University at Albany School of Public Health announced that residents in the Hoosick Falls area (Rensselaer County) and the City of Newburgh (Orange County) are invited to take part in a national Multi-Site PFAS (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances) Health Study. The by-invitation-only effort seeks to recruit eligible adults and families who will then be invited for a health clinic visit for blood and urine testing, along with a health evaluation, to measure exposure to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The study will also collect information about the immune response, lipid metabolism, kidney function, thyroid disease, liver disease, glycemic parameters and diabetes. In return, confidential test results will be provided to participants at no cost to them.
"New York State is collaborating with some of the best researchers in the country to collect data from participants with common exposures," said New York State Department of Health Acting Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "What we learn by working with these researchers could provide important clues about the complex relationship between PFAS exposures through drinking water and human health outcomes."
"The University at Albany School of Public Health is proud to partner with the New York State Department of Health and the residents of Newburgh and the Hoosick Falls area to conduct this important research health study," said Erin M. Bell, PhD., Associate Dean for Research and Professor, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University at Albany School of Public Health. "Working together, we will contribute to the national effort to better understand the health effects associated with PFAS."
The Hoosick Falls area and the City of Newburgh were chosen as part of the first national study to look at exposures to PFAS from drinking water. PFAS has been detected in public drinking water supplies and in private wells in these communities as well as across the country near where these chemicals were manufactured, used, or disposed. These efforts are strongly supported by both communities.
A Community Advisory Panel (CAP), made up of unpaid individuals from the Hoosick Falls area and Newburgh communities, is a critical partner in this study. Members relay community questions and concerns and encourage community outreach and participation. They also help advise researchers on study design, outreach and progress.
"We are excited to partner with University at Albany School of Public Health and New York State Department of Health to further what is known about PFAS and health," said Edward Lawson, Jr., JD, MBA, Newburgh CAP member and Co-Chair of Stewart Air National Guard Restoration Advisory Committee and President, Family and Community Engagement Services, Inc. (FACES). "This study is an important step that should benefit both the local Newburgh community and further national research into the myriad of health impacts associated with these pollutants. The most successful studies are where patients, families, healthcare providers and researchers collaborate and support each other. I visited the Newburgh Multisite PFAS Study Clinic and was particularly impressed with the attentiveness, patience, skill, acumen and diversity of its staff."
"The data collected in this vital study will be yet another step forward in providing the necessary education and guidance for our community on varying PFAS health effects, which has always been the number one question from our families," said Loreen Hackett, Hoosick Falls area CAP member and long-time resident who has been a leader in raising awareness about the PFOA contamination in the area. "This community is grateful to have been chosen to partner with Newburgh, University at Albany School of Public Health and the New York State Department of Health. We truly hope the information gathered will aid every family across the US now dealing with the same contamination to make more informed decisions for the health of their loved ones. Our babies and children in particular need and deserve the health information collected for a chance at healthier lives."
Researchers will look closely at the role PFAS may play in various health outcomes by analyzing results from blood tests, health-related laboratory tests and assessments, medical, exposure histories and children's educational records. New York State researchers may also ask some participants' permission to access newborn screening samples already on file to test them for PFAS exposure to help estimate people's PFAS exposures over their lifetime, including the birth mother's exposure leading up to and during pregnancy. These data may also help to establish a timeline for how PFAS exposures from drinking water have changed over time.
NYSDOH intends to protect all personal information while contributing to national scientific publications, reports and presentations. These will be published in a way to protect participant confidentiality so that participants cannot be identified.
The available information on the health effects associated with PFAS, like many chemicals, comes mostly from studies of high-level exposure in animals. Less is known about the chances of health effects in people from the range of exposure that might occur in drinking water.
The Multi-Site PFAS Health Study is funded by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. New York's effort is led by researchers from the New York State Department of Health and the University at Albany School of Public Health. Additional Multi-site PFAS Health Study communities are located in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
Learn more about the Multi-site PFAS Health Study on the School of Public Health's website.