Health Consultation--Hudson River PCBs

Residential Proximity to the Hudson River and Hospitalization Rates for Ischemic Heart Disease and Stroke: 1990-2005

Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, Albany, Washington and Saratoga Counties, New York

A 200-mile segment of the Hudson River, from Hudson Falls to New York City, is classified as a National Priority List (Federal Superfund) site due to contamination of the river with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from General Electric sites in Hudson Falls and Ft. Edward.

The New York State Department of Health was asked to follow up on studies, published in 2005 and 2006, that suggested people living in ZIP codes along the river had increased risk for heart disease and stroke. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry provided funding for the New York State Health Department to conduct a study that used smaller geographic units than the previous studies. Rather than ZIP codes, the current study uses Census block groups to more accurately assign distance to the River as well as disease risk factors such as level of education and income. Heart disease and stroke hospitalization rates in areas closest to the Hudson River are compared with rates in areas farther from the river while adjusting for other risk factors.