State Health Department Issues Advice on Hoosic River Water

Albany, July 5, 2002 - As a precautionary measure, the New York State Department of Health is advising people against using water from the Hoosic River at this time following a red dye discharge from a Massachusetts paper company. The guidance applies to swimming, as well as drawing water for drinking or other household purposes anywhere discoloration is noted. Fish caught in such waters should not be consumed. In addition, the State Department of Agriculture and Markets recommends that farmers use an alternative source for watering crops or animals.

The above advice should be followed until the color of the river returns to normal, which is expected to occur within a few days.

The discharge occurred July 2 from the Curtis Fine Paper Company, in Adams, Massachusetts. Materials released into the river are three types of azo dyes, one of which contains a small amount of triethanolamine. In very high concentrations, this chemical can cause skin or eye irritation. Although the limited information available from the manufacturer does not indicate that the dyes are acutely toxic, particularly considering the amount of dilution, health officials consider it prudent that people minimize their potential exposure.

7/5/02-70 OPA