New Hampshire Innovates for Chronic Disease Prevention

This has been an incredible week. This week the House of Representatives passed four bills that I sponsored that all aim to protect our State’s most valuable resource…drinking water. Three passed on what’s called Consent (they were passed through on committee vote) to the Senate. The last one House Bill 485 passed on the House floor with a landslide vote of 335 in favor to 29 opposed. This is huge!

House Bill 485 entitled “An Act relative to standards for emerging contaminants in drinking water,” proposes the following:

1- This bill would give New Hampshire regulators the ability to be more stringent that EPA in protecting drinking water in the state.

Why is this important? It is crucial for states to have autonomy since EPA is being defunded and EPA often needs encouragement to make advances in establishing maximum contaminant levels in drinking water. Many states like Vermont, New Jersey and Pennsylvania have moved to be more protective relating to PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) in their drinking water in light of law suits which have successfully been brought against DuPont and Chemours in West Virginia.

2- The bill asks state regulators to recalculate water quality standards for 1,4-dioxane and PFCs.

Why is this important? Information about toxic effects from these cancer-causing chemicals has been discovered which tells us drinking water with lower levels of these contaminants is not safe. Our state has some of the highest incidences of cancer in the country. New Hampshire regulators need to initiate new rules to make our water safer to drink and prevent cancer.

3- The bill specifies that toxic effects unborn and very young children from drinking water and specifies an EPA-determined protection factor for determining drinking water standards.

Why is this important? Children are the most vulnerable to toxic effects from chemicals. Safeguarding our population with more protective standards for drinking water will reduce chronic illnesses, like cancers, for future generations.

This and my three other bills moves New Hampshire closer to being an innovative model for other states to use to prevent chronic disease. CDC says that in 2008 New Hampshire spent $400M per year to treat cancers that are preventable. House Bill HB511 will help identify cancer clusters and other areas which may have increased chronic diseases from environmental exposures. Not only will this help prevent chronic disease but also reduce health care burden for treating disease. Together at all levels with both government and non government organizations we will get answers we will find solutions. Unfortunately that is not enough to bring these children back that were taken from us but will work to prevent the devistating loss of a child.

Innovation requires courage to try something new and put yourself out there. Congratulations to New Hampshire House legislators for taking the courageous steps to innovate disease prevention!

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