COHOES, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Residents, scientists, activists, and elected officials—including the mayor—are holding a public information session about burning firefighting foam at Norlite at 6:30 p.m. on Monday. Free and broadcast via Zoom, the Cohoes town hall will probe the current situation at the potentially toxic Norlite Hazardous Waste Facility.
At its location next to a public housing complex, Norlite disposed of aqueous film-forming foam, known as AFFF, by incinerating it. It is a material used in certain fire extinguishers. Both houses of the state legislature unanimously passed a bill banning burning the foam because of the high likelihood that it contaminates local air, water, and soil.
Urgently concerned locals continue to question the health impacts of incinerating firefighting foam. Although Gov. Andrew Cuomo has not addressed whether he will sign the bill, the Department of Environmental Conservation has enacted additional safeguards that prevent burning the foam without applying for brand new permits.
Scheduled speakers for the town hall include:
- William T. Keeler, Mayor of Cohoes
- Joseph Ritchie, longtime Saratoga Sites apartment resident
- Dr. David Carpenter, Albany School of Public Health
- Dr. David Bond, Bennington College
- Juditch Enck, former EPA Region 2 Administrator
- Moderator: Corinne Carey, journalist from the Hudson Mohawk Magazine at WOOC 105.3 FM.
Scientists from Bennington College released a report earlier this year concluding that burning AFFF does not destroy potentially dangerous chemicals, only redistributing them into nearby neighborhoods and ecosystems.