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NY Senator Seeks Regulations After Concerns Arise Over Chemical In Long Island Water

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A state senator from Long Island is pushing for regulations following concerns over a probable carcinogen in the water.

The man-made chemical 1,4-dioxane – which is listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a "probable carcinogen" -- was found in nearly all the water districts on Long Island.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky is has proposed a bill that would set regulations of the chemical.

"This is a chemical that should be watched, it's likely carcinogenic, meaning it could lead to the causing of cancer, but for a lot of reasons it's taking a long way to have that information wind its way up to the public and to different agencies that are supposed to regulate it," Kaminsky said. "A few states are doing something about it, Washington has not."

Kaminsky wants to set a maximum level allowed by law that water districts must follow.

"What you have on the one hand is a lot of reports telling us that we should be concerned about this chemical, yet not a lot of action limiting it or figuring out how to get it out of the water," Kaminsky said. "We need to step up to the plate... We need to start taking action."

The chemical was used in aviation, manufacturing and agricultural operations and is now being used as a stabilizer in solvents, and personal care products including shampoos and detergents.

The chemical can leech through the groundwater and into drinking water, where the sole source for Long Island is a network of underground aquifers.

The Suffolk County Water Authority is building a nearly $1 million ultraviolet reactor – the first of its kind in the state – that can neutralize 1,4-dioxane.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in his State of the State address last week that there will be further testing for 1,4-dioxane on Long Island this year.

Cuomo also proposed a $2 billion fund to pay for clean water infrastructure, helping communities install treatment systems to get rid of contaminants.

Effects of 1,4-dioxane vary, depending on a person's exposure, health and age.

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