The PFAS Multi-Site Health Study
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is studying the human health effects of exposure to drinking water contaminated with PFAS (Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances). PFAS are man-made chemicals that have been used in many industries around the world, including in the United States for many decades. ATSDR is funding researchers from seven different sites across the U.S. to see how PFAS impacts health. One of these sites includes two New York communities: the city of Newburgh and the village of Hoosick Falls.
Researchers at the University at Albany and the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) received funding from ATSDR to study PFAS and its possible relationship to health among those exposed to PFAS-contaminated drinking water in Newburgh, New York and Hoosick Falls, New York. You can learn more about the funding awarded to UAlbany and the NYSDOH here.
The University at Albany and the NYSDOH plan to enroll 1,000 adults and 300 children from both communities to evaluate their PFAS blood and urine levels, health measures like thyroid hormone levels and liver function, and medical history to better understand how PFAS may affect health.
How did PFAS get into drinking water?
Newburgh: In 2013, the City of Newburgh identified PFOS contamination in Lake Washington, a public water supply site. Stewart Air Force Base nearby used fire-fighting foam that contained PFOS (a type of PFAS) and contaminated the lake. In 2016, the city switched to a safe alternate drinking water source.
Hoosick Falls: In 2015, PFOA levels (PFOA is a type of PFAS) was detected in the Hoosick Falls public drinking water supply. The Saint Gobain Performance Plastics Manufacturing Plant used PFAS in their industrial practices, and this use contaminated water supplies in the area.
More information about the study:
- Over the next few months, the University at Albany and the NYSDOH will frequently meet with community members to answer questions as we plan this study.
- The University at Albany and the NYSDOH will form a community advisory panel (CAP) in both communities.
- In the spring of 2021, eligible residents will be invited to schedule a clinical visit and complete tests for the study.
- Participants will receive a report of their test results.
- University at Albany and NYSDOH staff will meet with community members and physicians to discuss the study results and answer questions about individual results.
Trained professionals from the community will:
- Collect your blood and urine samples
- Take your body and clinical measurements
- Ask questions about your residential, drinking water usage, occupational, and medical history
- Study behaviors in child participants
With your consent, staff will also collect information from your medical records and your child’s school records.
Research staff are careful to protect personal information. A unique participant ID will be used to conceal every participant’s identity.
Participants' results as a whole will be used to inform public health specialists on how PFAS impacts health. In addition, each individual participant will receive their own testing results, enabling them to learn more about their own health.
Participants will receive a letter with their blood PFAS and health test results.
- Help scientists understand how PFAS exposure may affect health
- Receive their individual tests results
- Receive up to $50 for adults and $75 for children for completing the entire study
PFAS Biomonitoring: The NYSDOH Biomonitoring program measured how much PFAS you have been exposed to and compared PFAS blood levels in the City of Newburgh and the village of Hoosick Falls to levels in the general population. If you would like to request a copy of your previous test results, please call NYSDOH at (518) 402-7950.
PFAS Exposure Assessment: The CDC and ATSDR are assessing the PFAS exposure in communities near current or former military installations. The exposure assessment will compare PFAS levels in blood and urine from the City of Newburgh to levels in the general population. The CDC and ATSDR will also identify and assess environmental factors that affect exposure. If you have any questions or concerns on the exposure assessment, contact Luis Rivera-Gonzalez, PHD, MS, ATSDR Division of Community Health Investigations Eastern Branch, 732-906-6933, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meet the University at Albany researchers:
Dr. Bell is a Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University at Albany School of Public Health. Her research interests include examining the association of environmental exposures and adverse birth and child health outcomes, including neurodevelopment. She is particularly interested in the relationship between social factors and environmental exposures and their combined impact on child development. Learn more about Dr. Bell here.
Dr. Michael S. Bloom is an Associate Professor of Environmental Health Sciences at the University at Albany's School of Public Health. He studies the effects of toxic environmental agents on reproduction and fetal development in human populations, including contributions to health disparities and global health impacts. Learn more about Dr. Bloom here.
Maria Galluzzo is a Senior Research Support Specialist. She received her MPH at UAlbany, her B.S. in Biology at Fairfield University, and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She has conducted research with citizen scientists on harmful algal blooms in Lake Lillinonah. Maria previously interned at the New York State Department of Health and worked for the Upstate KIDS Study.
Elisa Grimm is a Research Support Specialist. She earned her M.S. in Community Health at the University of New Mexico, her B.A. in Liberal Arts from St. John’s College, and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She has worked in Tobacco Control and Community Health Promotion. Previously, Elisa focused on maternal and child health as part of the the Upstate KIDS Study.
Meet the NYSDOH researchers:
Dr. Lewis-Michl is the Director of the Division of Environmental Health Assessment within the Center for Environmental Health at the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). As Co-PI of the PFAS Multi-Site Health, Dr. Lewis-Michl will be responsible for the study's overall management within the NYSDOH. Dr. Lewis-Michl has extensive experience conducting a wide variety of health outcome and biomonitoring investigations including applied epidemiological research in communities with unusual environmental exposures. She holds a PhD in Socio-medical Sciences from Columbia University, New York, New York.
Mr. Forand is the Chief of the Community Environmental Health Surveillance Section in the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology (BEOE) within the Center for Environmental Health at the New York State Department of Health. He will oversee day-to-day management of the PFAS Multi-Site Health Study within BEOE including recruitment, data management and statistical analysis and community engagement. Mr. Forand has over 25 years of experience working as a Research Scientist in the field of environmental epidemiology in BEOE. He hold an MS in Epidemiology from the University at Albany, Albany, NY.
Dr. Savadatti is the Assistant Director of the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology (BEOE) within the Center for Environmental Health at the New York State Department of Health. She also holds an appointment as a Research Assistant Professor with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University at Albany School of Public Health. She will assist with the overall planning, coordination and implementation of the PFAS Multi-Site Health Study. She holds a DrPH from the University at Albany, Albany, NY.
Dr. Korre is a Research Scientist in the Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology (BEOE) within the Center for Environmental Health at the New York State Department of Health. She will serve as the PFAS Multi-Site Health Study coordinator within BEOE. She will coordinate grant activities with the CDC/ATSDR, University at Albany School of Public Health, and with other local and regional stakeholders. She holds an ScD from Harvard T.H. Chan school of Public Health, Boston, MA.