Riverhead residents to file lawsuit over chemicals in water

Kristin Thorne Image
Wednesday, March 22, 2017

WESTHAMPTON, Long Island (WABC) -- Residents in the Hamptons claim their health is being put at risk by a chemical used to fight fires.

Dozens of people living near an Air National Guard base are now filing suit.

Any day that Al Green feels healthy is a good one. "There are times when I'm not able to hold my son like I'm holding him now because I get chest pains," Green said. "I get body aches every day, shortness of breath, fatigue, I'm supposed to avoid sunlight."

It's from a rare autoimmune disease. Both Green's brothers have it as well.

They all grew up in a home just south of Gabreski Air National Guard Base in Westhampton Beach.

"There are a lot of people on that block alone who have cancer," Green said.

A sampling of public and private wells in that area a few months ago showed presence of a chemical that was part of a liquid foam used by firefighters practicing at the base.

They did so as recently as 2014.

The chemical called PFOS can cause autoimmune diseases.

Green was one of the first to contact an attorney. Now he's one of 200 people who are planning to file a lawsuit against New York state for negligence and recklessness.

"It's upsetting, but I also feel like I'm trying help other people in the area there who weren't aware of what was going on and bringing it to light," Green said.

Eyewitness News reached out to Suffolk County and the state DEC. Both said they do not comment on pending litigation.