New York State Releases Newburgh Blood Testing Results and Announces Expanded Testing Program

Results mailed to first 370 testing participants; Public information sessions scheduled to discuss results

Expanded Program Adds Additional Locations Improving Access to Testing for Residents

ALBANY, N.Y. (February 15, 2017) - The New York State Department of Health today announced that blood testing results under the Newburgh Blood Testing Program have been mailed to the program's first 370 participants. Additionally, the Department of Health announced that the program will be expanded, giving residents greater flexibility in undergoing future tests. Under the enhanced blood testing program, residents will now be able to schedule appointments at patient service centers of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Quest Diagnostics and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LabCorp).

"The State's free blood testing program allows residents who are concerned about past exposure to PFOS to gain an understanding of their blood levels and how they compare to others in their community. The Department has been working tirelessly to compile blood test results and additional information to help provide a context for what these blood levels mean," Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said. "We are moving forward with an enhanced plan that makes it easier for participants to take part in the program, while providing the same level of analysis and education about PFOS exposure. We look forward to working with our new community partners and thank Cornerstone Healthcare for the testing they've completed to date."

As part of the state's ongoing response to address drinking water contamination in the Newburgh area, the Department of Health launched the comprehensive biomonitoring program in November 2016. The program offers free blood testing to Newburgh-area residents concerned about their past exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and other perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from the City's drinking water. PFOS analysis is a complex process requiring sophisticated equipment and specialized staff.The Department of Health's Wadsworth Center Laboratories is one of the few labs in the country performing this task.

The blood test for PFOS exposure does not determine current, or future health effects, but can be used to measure levels of exposure to the chemicals.In addition to their results, participants will receive information that includes context for understanding how their blood levels compare to others in their community and nationwide. For more information about the blood testing program, click here.

To help residents understand their results and receive an update on the State's response to PFOS in Newburgh, the state will host public information sessions at:

  • SUNY Orange, Newburgh Extension (formerly Orange County Community College)
    Kaplan Hall, Great Room (Rm. 101)
    One Washington Center
    Newburgh, NY

The information sessions will take place on:

  • Wednesday, February 22 from 7 p.m. - 9 p.m.
  • Tuesday, February 28 from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

A hotline has also been established for the public to stay informed on the State's response to PFOS in the Newburgh area.Representatives are available to answer questions between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday – Friday at 1-800-801-8092. Additionally, the Department has worked with Newburgh-area medical professionals to answer questions and better prepare them to answer questions from their patients.

Expanded Blood Testing Program

Following the first results, the Department of Health is launching an enhanced blood testing program that will expand the availability of free blood testing to multiple locations in the City of Newburgh. Testing will be available by appointment at the patient service centers of St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp to give residents greater scheduling flexibility.

Residents seeking to participate in the expanded blood testing program can do so by calling 1-800-801-8092 to request a laboratory order. Once residents receive their lab order, they can take it to one of the participating community sites to have their blood drawn. Each site has different policies about making appointments (including online or by calling the number). Residents who already signed up for blood testing during the past few months are currently being contacted to confirm mailing addresses and will receive priority for getting lab test orders mailed. The patient service centers where testing will be available are:

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said, "In November, I joined my neighbors in Newburgh to get my blood tested for contaminants and I urged all Newburgh residents to join me. I'm glad to hear that the first batch of results are in the mail and that the Department of Health and Commissioner Zucker have expanded the program in Newburgh – ensuring even more folks can get their blood tested to determine the effects of any Newburgh water contamination on their health."

Senator William J. Larkin, Jr. said, "The state continues to show that it is committed to the people of Newburgh for the long haul. Expanded testing times and locations make the option to have a blood test more accessible for residents concerned about past exposure. I'm pleased that residents who want to participate in the State's biomonitoring program now have an increased opportunity have their blood tested at additional locations right in the community. I thank the state for all they have done so far in helping us to quickly respond to this issue."

Assemblyman Frank Skartados said,"I urge residents to take advantage of the State's expanded blood testing outreach program. The new telephone hotline and access to test sites at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital, Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp make it even more convenient - this is something everyone in Newburgh should take advantage of."

Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus said,"We are grateful that New York State has taken the initiative to provide this important first step in addressing the ongoing health issues in the Greater Newburgh area. Expanding the test area is the right move for the residents of this area. I would encourage any resident who has yet to be tested to take advantage of this free health testing."

The statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team's comprehensive response to PFOS in the Newburgh area includes swiftly identifying PFOS contamination in the City of Newburgh public water supply, securing a clean alternative water source, and listing the Stewart Air National Guard Base as a state Superfund site to ensure full clean-up and accountability. The New York State Department of Health continues to work with alongside our federal, state, and local partners to notify Newburgh area residents of the availability of blood testing.