Readers Write: Residents have a right to clean water

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Dear Commissioner [Howard] Zucker:

I was shocked when I recently read that the water in the town of North Hempstead on Nassau County is contaminated with 1,4-dioxane.

Being on the New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, one of my priorities is to protect and maintain the quality of our drinking water.

I have been discussing this issue with New York State Assemblyman Steve Englebright, the chair of the New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, and also with Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, the chair of the New York State Assembly Health Committee.

The numerous researches on this toxic chemical compound written up by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and several other state and federal agencies have determined that this chemical has numerous health effects and possibly causes cancer.

After ingesting or inhaling 1,4-dioxane a person might experience symptoms which can include coughing, sore throat, nausea, dizziness, headache, drowsiness, vomiting, abdominal pain, and become unconsciousness.

If a person is exposed to a mist, such as when taking a shower, which contains 1,4-dioxane their eyes might become irritated and painful which causes redness and watering.

This chemical also has the ability to be absorbed through the skin.

The medical research shows that if a person has been exposed to this chemical for an extended period of time or repeated exposure it may have effects on their central nervous system, kidneys, and liver.

A recent survey, which was done by the Gallup poll, shows that most people are more concerned about the safety of their drinking water than any other environmental issues.

Drinking water greatly affects people’s health which contributes to economic factors when they develop more severe health problems.

As a reminder, water for New York City comes from reservoirs upstate New York; on Long Island our water is extracted from an underground aquifer.

Chemicals that do not stick to the soil, such as 1,4-dioxane, which is used with paints, dyes , paint strippers, cleaners, laundry detergents, varnishes, cosmetics, deodorants and other products end-up in our water supply.

These products are often flushed down the drain or used outdoors.

As the state representative of the 16th Assembly district, I will use the power of my office to advocate a comprehensive approach to eliminate the potential health problems caused by 1,4-doxane.

In order to achieve the goals which guarantee that our water is clean and safe for human consumption, I will propose the following legislation:

• The state Department of Environmental Conservation operates independently of what the Federal Environmental Protection Agency chooses to do, I want the DEC to add 1,4-diozxane on the list of contaminant products, and promulgate specific high water standards.

• I strongly believe and advocate that manufactures remove this by-product and market new and safe products, until such time, consumer products containing 1,4-dioxane be banned in the State of New York.

• The 2017-2018 state budget provides funding of $2.5 billion for clean water projects over five years.  We want to use the funds available so that water suppliers and waste treatment plants implement appropriate treatment methods.

I believe that residents have the right to deserve a clean and safe water supply and be free of worries that the water could be contaminated by potential carcinogenic by-products every time they drink it.

Your timely attention to this issue would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. Sincerely,

Anthony D’Urso 

Member of Assembly

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