Plans to test Newburgh residents for potential toxic chemicals in their blood have been announced.

In May 2016, City of Newburgh residents learned their drinking water supply was contaminated with the man-made chemical Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) at concentrations above the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recently updated lifetime drinking water health advisory level. PFOS is a potentially toxic chemical.

Studies show that exposure to PFOS over certain levels may result in adverse health effects, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, kidney cancer, testicular cancer, liver damage, low birth weight, and other serious health effects.

On Monday, the State Department of Health announced dates for initial blood testing for City of Newburgh residents. Many called for free testing after residents learned their water was contaminated.

The first blood tests will be held at the Cornerstone Family Healthcare locations at 147 Lake Street and 290 Broadway in Newburgh on the following dates:

• 147 Lake Street, Newburgh
o Tuesday, November 1;
o Wednesday, November 2;
o Thursday, November 3;
o Saturday, November 12;
o Saturday, November 19.
• 290 Broadway, Newburgh
o Monday, November 7;
o Thursday, November 10.

Interested residents are strongly encouraged to pre-register for an appointment by calling 518-402-7950 or emailing BEOE@health.ny.gov. Day, evening, and weekend appointments are available. More dates will be added based on demand and feedback from the community.

Participation and results from the initial blood tests will assist the development of a full comprehensive program that will include wide outreach to the community, blood tests in multiple locations, and educational materials in English, Spanish and Creole, officials say.

"New York State has taken quick and decisive action to address contamination of the water supply in Newburgh," New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker stated. "To date, we have transitioned the City to a clean water source, and begun the process to construct a permanent carbon filtration system for the City's supply, paying for all the associated costs. We are now offering free blood testing and providing educational materials so residents will have a greater understanding of their past exposure to PFOS."