Rockland Residents Demand Greater State Action on County Water Crisis

Rockland Water Coalition to deliver a petition signed by over one thousand residents to Governor Cuomo calling for steps to protect public health from PFAS contamination

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Clean Water

For Immediate Release

New City, NY — This morning, Rockland County residents called on Governor Cuomo and his administration to take concrete steps to protect public health from chemical contamination in the county’s water supply, presenting a petition signed by over one thousand residents to the governor. The Rockland Water Coalition, along with allies and elected officials, urged Governor Cuomo to undertake measures to monitor, publicly disclose, and cleanup PFAS or “forever chemicals” in the County’s water supply. The Rockland Water Coalition, along with allies including Food & Water Watch, Riverkeeper, NYPIRG and Environmental Advocates of New York has been mobilizing for months.

In a press conference today (video link), local residents, including health care professionals, parents, middle school students, members of the clergy, educators and non-profit organizers, spoke out against the dangers of PFAS contamination. PFAS pose serious risks to human health including high cholesterol, thyroid disease, kidney and testicular cancer, and impacts on fertility. Speakers emphasized the particular dangers for pregnant women and children, which include decreased fertility, pregnancy-induced hypertension, and correlations with low birth weight. Exposure to PFAS has also been shown to cause adverse impacts on the liver and immune system, with a link to decreased vaccine response and neurobehavioral effects, including ADHD.

Inadequate action by the Cuomo administration on this issue has put the County’s public health supply at risk for months since the chemicals were initially discovered last year.

“It is genuinely frightening to think that my children have been and are being exposed to toxic chemicals in their drinking water,” said Molly Findlay, a mother and Rockland resident. “These are chemicals for which there are no known safe limits.”

“When we speak for the youth, we say that there are NO acceptable levels of toxic PFAS in drinking water anywhere,” said 13-year-old Blue Rock School Student Anna Palitti. “We demand action from local and government officials to treat this as an emergency.”

“Here in the U.S. we presume water from our faucet is clean and safe,” said Sr. Dorothy Maxwell. “It’s a terrible thing that in the U.S., one of the richest countries on earth, we are being exposed to toxic chemicals in our drinking water.” 

“Public health is at serious risk in Rockland County, and the Cuomo administration must step up their monitoring efforts and intervene on the public’s behalf,” said Eric Weltman, Senior New York Organizer with Food & Water Watch, a member of the Rockland Water Coalition. “New Yorkers deserve clean, affordable and safe drinking water, every time they turn on the tap. Governor Cuomo must take action on this issue immediately, before any more residents are put at risk.”

Contact: Phoebe Galt, Food & Water Watch [email protected]   
Cliff Weathers, Riverkeeper, [email protected]