June 29 — To the Editor:
As a New Hampshire citizen I’m concerned about the high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in our drinking water. Evidence continues to mount indicating that PFAS are toxic to human and environmental health, as they do not naturally break down in the environment and can accumulate over time. They can even accumulate in our bodies, which can lead to cancer and other chronic health conditions such as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and infertility.
We need legislative action to protect our communities from PFAS contamination. I would like to thank Senator Maggie Hassan, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Congressman Pappas, and Congresswoman Annie Kuster for working to address PFAS contamination at the federal level. I would especially like to thank Representatives Pappas and Kuster for being Members of the Congressional PFAS Task Force.
I was also happy to see that NH Department of Environmental Services recently filed a rule-making proposal establishing maximum contaminant levels for four different PFAS substances in drinking water. Under the rule, the maximum contaminant levels will drop between 11 and 18 parts per trillion. I hope that the New Hampshire Joint Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules will consider the rule-making proposal from DES at its meeting on July 18th.
I’m glad DES favors regulating PFAS; however, this rule is just a step in the right direction. There are over 4,500 different man-made PFAS chemicals. They’re found in many consumer products - including food packaging, cookware, and clothing. PFAS are also found in firefighting foams that have been routinely used on military bases, including on Pease Air Force Base. In order to successfully address the PFAS contamination crisis, we need to establish maximum contaminant levels for PFAS chemicals as a class, not chemical by chemical.