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Mar 10, 2016 8:00 PM

Erin Brokovich sets sights on Merrimack after contaminated water discovered

MERRIMACK - Iconic environmental activist Erin Brokovich is taking up the cause of contaminated water found in Merrimack.

The contamination was detected at the Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics plant where the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) was found in well water.

The news came as the New York law firm Weitz & Luxenberg, in connection with Erin Brockovich, filed a class-action lawsuit against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics and Honeywell International over water contamination in Hoosick, N.Y. They are now expanding their investigation to include Merrimack.

PFOA is used to make non-stick cookware and stain-resistant carpeting. The law firm claims chronic exposure to these chemicals has been linked to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, thyroid disease, colitis, and other medical problems.

At Saint-Gobain in Merrimack, two wells tested with 42 parts per trillion PFOA in April of 2014. When tested again six months later, the wells tested clean. Although the levels detected were well below the EPA's current advisory level, the N.H. Department of Environmental Services says additional testing is ongoing.

The governors of N.H., N.Y. and Vermont have asked the EPA to issue safe drinking water guidelines for PFOA. Anyone concerned about the presence of this chemical in their water can use a standard household carbon filter or use bottled water.

Saint-Gobain has begun voluntary testing of the soil and groundwater at its Merrimack plant.

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