Orange County (NY) near Stewart Air National Guard Base

Newburgh, NY

PFAS Exposure Assessment Community Level Results

In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) started exposure assessments (EAs) in communities near current or former military bases known to have had per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in their drinking water. Individuals who participated in the EAs provided blood and urine samples to CDC/ATSDR for analysis. We sent letters to participants that included their individual lab results. An example letter of the test results letter and the community level results are available here pdf icon[PDF – 943 KB].

Background

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) will begin an exposure assessment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water near the Stewart Air National Guard Base (ANGB).  The assessment will start in February 2020 and focus on a random selection of households served by the City of Newburgh drinking water system. As a part of this assessment, we will recruit participants and conduct blood and urine testing. 

Use and spills of aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS occurred at the Stewart Air National Guard base during firefighting training and emergency responses. The PFAS chemicals traveled into the surface water affecting the City of Newburgh’s drinking water sources. 

In 2013, PFAS levels from samples taken at the City’s primary drinking water source, Washington Lake, were higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) current health advisory level, but lower than the provisional health advisory at the time. The EPA lowered their health advisory in May 2016. The City of Newburgh removed Washington Lake from service and began using its backup water supply (Brown’s Pond) in May 2016, prior to the EPA’s lowering of the health advisory. In June 2016, the drinking water system was connected to the New York City Catskill Aqueduct. Based on information available to the ATSDR, the City of Newburgh drinking water supply currently meets federal and state PFAS guidelines. 

Sampling Area 

CDC/ATSDR has identified a random selection of households exposed to PFAS in their drinking water through the City of Newburgh’s public drinking water system. City of Newburgh water customers include residents of the City of Newburgh and some homes within the Town of Newburgh. Choosing a random selection of households to participate will help estimate exposure for all community members, even those not selected to participate. Residents with private wells will not be recruited because very few private wells exceeded the PFAS health advisory level and we would not be able to draw meaningful conclusions for this group. 

All individuals living in selected households are eligible to participate if they: 

  • are 3 years of age or older (children will be included in the exposure assessment only if we have consent from a parent or legal guardian) 
  • do not have a bleeding disorder and are not anemic 
  • have lived in the sampling area for at least one year before May 2, 2016. 

You do not need to be a United States citizen to participate. If you speak a language other than English, we can provide translation for you.

The map shows the City of Newburgh and the sampling area for the PFAS exposure assessment in Orange County, New York. The footprint of the sampling area overlaps with the City of Newburgh.

Schedule

CDC and ATSDR began an exposure assessment in February 2020, which was paused due to COVID-19. In October 2020, ATSDR resumed field biological sampling collection activities. Individual results will be mailed to participants. CDC/ATSDR completed the analysis of the biological samples. Individual results were mailed to participants May 14, 2021. CDC/ATSDR will write a final report summarizing the findings and recommendations for the community and present the results at a public meeting.

Information session held February 2020, recruitment, field work, and sample collection held September and October 2020

Information Session

For information on work being done in the City of Newburgh, Orange County, NY, contact Luis Rivera-Gonzalez, Region 2 Toxicologist, 732-906-6933, lqx8@cdc.gov.

Page last reviewed: May 26, 2021