Shaheen bill takes aim at water contamination
firstname.lastname@example.org @JeffreyMcMenemy PORTSMOUTH — Sens.
Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are introducing bipartisan legislation aimed at improving federal efforts to identify the public health effects of emerging contaminants, such as the PFCs that contaminated a city-owned well at the former Pease Air Force Base.
Shaheen noted that PFCs and other emerging contaminants – like cyanotoxins – are increasingly being detected in drinking water around the country.
A state Department of Environmental Services official listed a number of health effects — including cancer — he says are associated with exposure to PFOS and PFOA in drinking water.
The legislation, according to Shaheen, will: • Direct the EPA to create a program to provide federal support and technical assistance to communities with emerging contaminants in their water.
• Direct the EPA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to convene an interagency working group to “improve federal efforts to identify and respond to emerging contaminants.
• Compel the Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop an “interagency federal research strategy to improve the identification, analysis and treatment of emerging contaminants.” Portsmouth resident Andrea Amico, who led the successful fight to get anyone exposed to PFCs at the Pease International Tradeport to have their blood tested, said she is “really excited to learn about the proposed legislation by Sen. Shaheen focusing on emerging contaminants.” “I think communities like Pease will benefit from this legislation because it takes a more proactive approach to addressing emerging contaminants,” Amico said Monday.
Amico also wants the EPA to set health advisories for all the PFCs, not just PFOS and PFOA and hopes Shaheen’s bill will inspire them to do that.
“It puts some money into it, it puts some force behind it.” Messmer, who is one of the founders of the New Hampshire Safe Water Alliance, added that her group “applauds Sen. Shaheen for introducing legislation that would improve the state and federal response to emerging contaminants.” “NHSWA was founded to advocate for safe drinking water across New Hampshire where contaminants such as PFCs and 1,4-dioxane threaten the drinking and surface water resources of many cities and towns,” Messmer said.
“NHSWA feels that this proactive legislation is a critical step in protecting our drinking water and reducing chronic illness.” Portman, in a statement Monday, said the legislation will improve federal efforts to identify the health impacts of unregulated contaminants found in our drinking water sources.”