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Background: I work for the Department for Children and Families and we have been, until April of this year, temporarily located at the Global Foundries/IBM Site. This week we got this email:


Please read this important message from Commissioner Chen!

To staff who work or worked at the Global Foundries/IBM site:

I understand that the news of test results showing contamination of the water below the ground at Global Foundries/IBM must have been disturbing for those of you who work at that site now, or have worked there in the past. The chemicals PFOA and PFOS were used in the past at IBM, but are no longer used.

I want to assure you that you are not at greater risk from exposure to PFOA and PFOS as a result of working there, because these chemicals are not in the drinking water.

When we find these chemicals in drinking water we are very concerned, but that is not the case at this site. The water that comes out of the tap at Global Foundries/IBM is from the public water system, Champlain Water District. Champlain Water District has tested clean for these chemicals. The testing was conducted recently by the Department of Environmental Conservation as a part of the current investigation into sites that may have used PFOA and PFOS in the past.

PFOA and PFOS are manufactured chemicals that belong to a group of chemicals used to make household and commercial products that resist heat and chemical reactions, and repel oil, stains, grease and water. We are all exposed to low levels of these chemicals from products we use every day. The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry has extensive information about this group of chemicals and health:

The Health Department has information for residents in communities where PFOA has been detected in their private drinking water wells, at

Harry Chen, MD

Commissioner of Health

Your right, Harry. It’s probably just a coincidence.