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McLaughlin Calls for Public Meeting on Norlite to Inform Residents of Health Issues and Quality of Life Concerns

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin is calling for a public meeting with representatives of Norlite and state and federal health and environmental departments following revelation that Norlite is burning foam that contains PFOAs.

McLaughlin is also seeking expanded testing of areas of the county, including testing of public water resources and air monitoring, and establishment of a dedicated website where residents in potentially affected areas can get answers on the issue.

“There is a need for clear and accurate information on the Norlite issue, and a meeting will help ensure questions from residents and others affected are answered quickly. Our residents deserve answers,” said McLaughlin.

“I am asking for Norlite, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Health department, along with the federal Environmental Protection Agency, to make themselves available as soon as possible for a meeting in Rensselaer County,” he added.

Prevailing winds carry emissions east in the area, meaning fallout from the Norlite plant would move into areas of Rensselaer County, McLaughlin noted. He said that makes air monitoring and testing of public water resources necessary.

“It is well known the air moves east and that most, if not all, emissions have made their way into our county. That means monitoring is needed of air quality and testing needed to ensure safe and clean water for drinking,” said McLaughlin.

McLaughlin also joined other elected officials in calling for a halt to any burning, or future burning, of foam at Norlite.

Establishment of a website can also be useful in providing answers to residents in the county with specific health or quality of life issues. PFOAs can lead to cancer, thyroid issues, immune system weakness and low infant birth weights.

Earlier this month it was revealed Norlite was burning toxic firefighter foam at its plant in Cohoes. The burning has stopped, according to Norlite officials, but the process of incinerating the foam was not known publicly.