Like most mothers, Hoosick Falls resident Emily Marpe watches her six-month-old daughter Ellie like a hawk. But behind that adorable face, Ellie has something you can not see.
“When she was tested at seven weeks old, her blood level was at 75.9 parts per billion,” Emily said.
Ellie has PFOA in her system. Even though she was born years after dangerous chemicals were discovered in the drinking water of Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, Ellie is still paying the price.
“This journey with my family has been up and down and all around,” Emily said.
Emily shared Ellie's story at Tuesday's State Drinking Water Quality Council Meeting. That's where the 12-member council recommended the nation's lowest maximum contaminant levels for three pollutants: in total, 10 parts per trillion for PFOA and PFOS, and one part per billion for 1,4 dioxane.
“What we were looking for and received from the committee is their best scientific knowledge and information,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.
Along with Hoosick Falls and Petersburgh, the contaminants have also been discovered in the city of Newburgh's drinking water.
While environmental groups call these recommendations a positive step, they are hoping all chemicals in the same class will be addressed by the state.
“If there’s an inkling that they are not safe for public health, we need to have MCLs,” said Liz Moran of the New York Public Interest Research Group.
The recommendations are now being reviewed by Dr. Zucker. After he makes a decision, a 60-day public comment period will follow. As for Emily, she says her fight for clean water continues, hoping other families won't have to go through the same ordeal.
“I’m invested wholeheartedly, probably until the day I die,” Emily said.