Update (2/22): Assemblyman Brian Maher (R,C-Walden) announced he was “coordinating with DEC on their comprehensive investigation into the odors being reported by residents in the Hudson Valley,” adding, “as soon as our team has more information we will let the public know.”
Maher encouraged residents in his 101st Assembly District to call his office at 518-455-4807. The DEC claims it has found no evidence of an imminent threat to public health or the environment.
In the wake of last week’s catastrophic train derailment in Ohio which released massive amounts of toxins into the air and water, residents in the area of Cornwall, NY are on edge, reporting what they say is a very strong “perfume-like” chemical smell.
In a Facebook post on Friday morning, Cornwall Town Supervisor Josh Wojehowski said that based on numerous complaints from residents beginning the previous night, NYS DEC Regional Director Kelly Turturro has “deployed teams to investigate and determine the source of the smell and whether it’s dangerous to the public.”
Despite multiple complaints from residents who say the smell sickened them, the Town of Cornwall reported that emergency services saw no sign of illness caused by the scent. They urged residents with health concerns to contact medical authorities.
Multiple users on Reddit complained of the scent, with some saying it was also being detected in Newburgh, Montgomery, Salisbury Mills and New Windsor.
In 2017, an explosion at the Verla International cosmetics plant less than 4 miles north of Cornwall in New Windsor caused one death and 30 injuries. Aurochemicals manufactures “flavor and fragrance ingredients” roughly 8 miles west of Cornwall in Washingtonville. Despite speculation by locals, neither has been linked to the widespread reports of the odd fragrance, which is still under investigation.
The incident tapped into fears stoked by Ohio train derailment, and other incidents causing hazardous chemical releases in Arizona, Florida, Texas, Michigan and Oklahoma over the past several days. In a Facebook post, popular local forecasters Hudson Valley Weather responded to concerns about toxic substances from the Ohio disaster reaching our area, saying “the prevailing wind pattern over the days following the derailment would have most certainly supported the dispersion of particles towards our region if they were in fact present in the upper atmosphere.” They called on New York State officials to make available the results of rain water and air sampling to assuage public concern.
The DEC advises the public to contact the New York State Spill Hotline at 800-457-7362, DEC’s Region 3 Office at 845-256-3000 or visit https://www.health.ny.gov/publications/6500/index.htm for additional information.