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Newburgh Offering Blood Tests After Chemical Found In Drinking Water

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Thousands of people are being told to get a blood test as a precaution after potentially cancer-causing chemicals were found in the tap water in Newburgh.

New York state officials have launched a comprehensive effort, offering blood tests to each and every one of Newburgh's 28,000 residents after high levels of PFOs, or perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, were found in the city's drinking water. The chemical is used for firefighting at a nearby Air Force base.

CBS2's Scott Rapoport talked with some people at the Broadway Coffee Shop in Newburgh. One resident there, Jeanine, said, "Everyone is concerned about their health."

The chemical worry was the only thing folks are talking about.

"I have to get a blood test," said Steven Hernandez. "I'm not happy."

It is a scary scenario for many residents who've had concerns about contamination since a state of emergency was issued back in May after the chemical was found in the water, exceeding federal guidelines.

"Somebody's contaminated it," Newburgh resident Luis Ramos said. "You could get poisoned or whatever. That's something I have to drink. And you can't avoid that."

"It's terrible what happened to the water," said Newburgh resident Ed McCarthy. "I was just coming here to get filtered special water from my doctor here."

"We don't know anything. They don't tell us anything. All we know is that it's bad now," said Darryl Monroe. "Nobody brings us no emergency water."

The city has shifted to a new water source, but the worries continue to linger. CBS2's Rapoport asked the city manager about it.

"I do not know how bad it is," said Newburgh City Manager Michael Ciaravino. "We will know as soon as we get the blood results."

Tests are free and will be running through Nov. 19. They will be offered at two Cornerstone Family Healthcare locations on the following dates:

147 Lake St., Newburgh
• Tuesday, November 1;
• Wednesday, November 2;
• Thursday, November 3;
• Saturday, November 12;
• Saturday, November 19.

290 Broadway, Newburgh
• Monday, November 7;
• Thursday, November 10.

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