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NYSDOH: No increased cancer associated with PFOA exposure found

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HOOSICK FALLS-- New York State Department of Health has released its Cancer Incidence Investigation for the Village of Hoosick Falls.

The State says residents should receive it in the mail Wednesday.

“This was a study to see whether or not we are seeing any elevated incidence of cancer among residents that's potentially associated with their exposure to PFOA and we didn't,” said Brad Hutton, Deputy Commissioner for Public Health with the New York State Department of Health.

Hutton said the Department used data from January 1995 through December 2014 from New York State's Cancer Registry. He said the State came up with a number of cases that could be expected in a community like Hoosick Falls by looking at a sample population from communities across the state. It then compared that number to Hoosick Falls. The study looked at several different cancers, but focused on four.

“We focused our attention on those cancers where there was any evidence of potential link to PFOA. Those include kidney and testicular cancer, and also prostate and bladder cancer. We didn't find any elevated incidence that was statistically significant for those four cancers,” said Hutton.

The investigation did find an elevated number of lung cancer cases in Hoosick Falls that was statistically significant.

“We went back and looked at the medical literature and didn’t find any study that had a potential link between PFOA and lung cancer, so we really firmly believe that the lung cancer elevation is not at all related to PFOA,” said Hutton.

CBS6 News asked how the State can ensure that the results can be trusted and that an independent firm shouldn’t have done the investigation.

“In addition to the five or so staff who worked on this we actually sent this to 12 peer reviewers, members of other academic institutions, governmental institutions, experts on PFOA and cancer to get their input of the methods we used. By and large they were supportive of the methods we used for the cancer investigation,” said Hutton. “We didn’t perform it in a vacuum, we definitely got expert input.”

The State will be in Hoosick Falls beginning Wednesday night, for a week, to explain the report and answer any questions one-on-one.

“I think it's very possible that residents might have had expectations that there might have been an elevated incidence. And it's valid for them to have concerns about the potential for health effects in the future. This is looking at cancer, there are other non-cancer health effects that are potentially associated with PFOA and it's important that they continue to be mindful of them,” said Hutton.

He said that the State will use this report as a baseline and will review cancer incidence data for the Village in 3-5 years to see if there are any changes or new patterns.

“We are going to be continuing to review the cancer data in the future in our commitment we are making to residents, some who are concerned that maybe exposure was higher in more recent years. We are going to come back and continue to review the data in the coming years and report on every 3-5 years whether or not we see any change in the patterns or trends,” said Hutton.

The report and a schedule of when DOH will be available for questions in Hoosick Falls can be viewed here: https://www.health.ny.gov/environmental/investigations/hoosick/

CBS6 News will be in Hoosick Falls Wednesday to speak with residents about these results.

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