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Federal Legislation for Funding for a National Health Study

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National PFAS Health Study 
(*Scheduled to be VOTED on early September!)

Since the Haven well was shut down in 2014 due to highly elevated levels of PFASs detected in the drinking water, Testing for Pease has fought for answers related to any possible health effects related to these highly persistent and bioaccumulative substances.  There are several New Hampshire communities and other communities across the nation that are facing PFAS water contamination. Many of these communities surround active or closed military installations similar to Pease and PFAS water contamination has become a national, public health issue that needs ongoing attention.

Testing for Pease is dedicated to advocating for more answers to our health related questions and concerns and clean, safe drinking water for our community and others across the US.  Legislative action is a critical component in safeguarding our water sources and protecting our health from pollutants. Our NH Congressional Delegation (Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster), have co-sponsored legislation in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (for Fiscal Year 2018) that would authorize the Department of Defense to fund a national health study for those impacted by PFAS chemicals at military installations. This study will help provide critical information for ALL people exposed to PFASs and bring future hopes of policy that will not only protect our drinking water, but will ultimately help protect us and our most vulnerable population – children.

Our work over the last few years has led us to build positive relationships with our state and federal legislators to raise awareness about the environmental issues and challenges that our communities are facing. As passionate and committed citizens, together we have joined forces with other community leaders across the US to make an impact on bringing awareness to the health and environmental impacts that PFAS chemicals have on our drinking water.  We feel strongly that engaging our elected officials at the federal level is a critical way to protect and maintain healthy, quality water sources for our families.

WITH THAT COMMON OBJECTIVE IN MIND, WE NEED YOUR HELP!

We hope that you will join our efforts by signing on to a letter of support for a national health study. With the use of a crowd-sourcing tool, we have made this process fairly easy for you! Based on your location, the tool auto-populates the email address of the federal officials who represent your area. The body of the email is pre-populated with a support letter we drafted. All you need to do is click here to begin, personalize your letter where indicated and hit submit–that’s it!

   We need to let our federal legislators know how important this national study will be in helping to identify possible adverse health outcomes as a result of our exposure and by contributing to the ongoing and evolving science of human health effects as a result of PFAS exposures. The results of this study will be a critical next step in protecting our families by providing us with the data we need to make proactive choices about our health.


IN CASE YOU WOULD RATHER SEND YOUR OWN LETTERS, THE LINKS BELOW WILL PROVIDE YOU WITH THE LETTER TEMPLATES AND THE APPROPRIATE CONTACTS TO ASK OUR FEDERAL REGULATORS TO SUPPORT THIS IMPORTANT LEGISLATION

  • Please use THIS LIST to contact the Senators in New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, New Jersey, West Virginia, Colorado, California and Washington and their appropriate staff to let them know why they should vote in support of the following NDAA bills/amendments and request the appropriations for their funding (*These legislators are especially important because these states have many communities impacted by PFAS.)

NDAA – Senate (S.1519): The CDC/ATSDR will commence a study on the human health implications of per- and polyfluoroalkyl
substances (PFAS) contamination in drinking water, ground water, and any other sources of water and relevant exposure vectors,
including the cumulative human health implications of multiple types of PFAS contamination at levels above and below health advisory levels.

Letter Writing Template (Senator)

*Also sending your letters to members of the Senate Appropriations Committee is important so that funding is secured to implement the study:
A list of those members can be found HERE.

NDAA – House (H.R.2810): This bill will carry out a study on any health effects experienced by individuals who are exposed to perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid from firefighting foam used at military installations or former military installations, including exposure through a well that provides water for human consumption that the Secretary determines is contaminated with perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid from such firefighting foam.

Letter Writing Template (Representative)

Thank you for making your voice heard…..

TOGETHER WE HAVE & CAN CONTINUE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

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Community Groups Across the Country Speak Out for Health Protective PFAS Drinking Water Standards following Saint-Gobain Dropping Lawsuit Against the State of Vermont.

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Montpelier, Vt. — The multinational corporation Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics agreed to dismiss the lawsuit against the State of Vermont challenging the perfluorooctanoic acid (“PFOA”) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (“PFOS”) groundwater standards. This new agreement between the State of Vermont and the potentially responsible company to uphold the state’s more stringent groundwater standards follows growing scientific evidence and escalating community concern regarding the toxicity of these chemicals even at very small concentrations.

In 2016, PFOA contamination was discovered in the groundwater and drinking water supply wells in the vicinity of the former Saint-Gobain manufacturing plant in North Bennington, Vermont, leading to the state of Vermont to designate a groundwater enforcement standard of 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for PFOA and PFOS, both toxic perfluorinated carbons known collectively under the umbrella acronym PFAS.

“The fact that the state of Vermont was sued because they were trying to protect their residents from getting sick from contaminated drinking water just shows how broken our chemical system is,” said Shaina Kasper, Vermont State Director with Toxics Action Center, a public health non-profit working with community groups facing the PFAS drinking water contamination.“We need to close the loopholes in our chemical use regulations, including national enforceable drinking water standards that are science-based for infants, children, and vulnerable populations, and for combined total of all PFAS. And in the meantime, we need to support state-level change for more health protective drinking water standards, and to close the loopholes in state chemical use so that this type of contamination doesn’t happen in the first place.”

“We also need a national campaign to demand answers about PFOA replacement chemicals to ensure that history is not allowed to repeat itself,” added Joe Kiger from Keep Your Promises Dupont a community group based in the Ohio River Valley fighting PFAS contamination and the subject of the documentary film The Devil We Know.

“Having Saint-Gobain dismiss this lawsuit in Vermont has huge ramifications for not just Vermont’s drinking water, but for community groups in New Hampshire, the rest of the United States, and the world,” said Andrea Amico, leader of the community group Testing for Pease. “We’ve been fighting here in New Hampshire for lower drinking water standards for the PFAS chemicals and the drop of this lawsuit marks a significant precedent for stronger PFAS regulations nationally.”

“While it is encouraging that the State of Vermont’s health guideline for PFOA and PFOS is no longer being challenged, there are lingering concerns,” said Dr. Laurel Schaider from Silent Spring Institute. “Recent studies suggest that lower levels of PFOA in drinking water may affect children’s immune systems and mammary gland development. We also know that there are over 3,000 PFAS chemicals on the global market, and most have never been tested for their impact on human health.”

“Ultimately, we need to move away from a chemical-by-chemical regulation and to a chemical class approach,” added Dr. Phil Brown from Northeastern University’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute which has been researching the social discovery of this contamination. The narrow reach of this action also highlights the need for more comprehensive, precautionary chemical regulation capable of thoroughly evaluating classes of chemicals, and raises important questions about how classes of chemicals are delimited in environmental health science and regulation.”

In addition to filing the lawsuit against the state, Saint-Gobain also had a sheriff serve court summons to a number of Bennington residents who provided written comments on the new state drinking water health advisory level of 20ppt which said “You are being sued. The plaintiff has started a lawsuit against you.” While Saint-Gobain argued that this summons was not in fact suing residents but just the state of Vermont, the theatrics of the lawsuit do not go overlooked by those opposed to the corporate bullying.

“The lawsuit centered on Saint-Gobain’s challenge of Vermont’s groundwater enforcement standard of 20 ppt for PFOA and PFOS, which the company alleged was ‘not supportable by science,’” said Lizzie Tisher, staff attorney at the Vermont Law School Environmental and Natural Resources Law Clinic. “There is more than an adequate scientific basis supporting Vermont’s standard, and this lawsuit only delayed efforts to bring clean, safe drinking water to North Bennington. We hope this marks the beginning of Saint-Gobain working closely with concerned residents and the state to fully extend the municipal water line.”

This announcement comes just days after the State of Vermont came to a settlement agreement with the company Saint-Gobain to get a municipal water line extension for 200 of the residents in the North Bennington, Vermont area, many with drinking water contamination from PFOA and PFOS.

“It’s encouraging to me, as someone who lives in a city impacted by this type of contamination, to know that there are state leaders in Vermont taking a strong stand to protect their people’s water supply.” said Mary Ann Babinski, City Councilor in Westfield, Massachusetts and a member of the community group Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves (WRAFT).  “It is my hope that other leaders will take notice and follow this example. Our government should respond quickly and be proactive about this serious situation, to make sure they protect the people they govern. It is their responsibility to uphold people’s rights to clean water, no ifs ands or buts about it.”

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To learn more about the PFAS contamination crisis, and to see information from a national PFAS conference held June 14-15 in Boston,please visit

PFASProject.comTo learn more about the impacts of PFAS on human health, see PFASHealth.info

To learn more about the community groups facing PFAS contamination in their communities, and to take action, see PFASProject.net

Take action here: actionnetwork.org/petitions/we-need-enforceable-pfas-drinking-water-standards

CONTACT:

Shaina Kasper, Toxics Action Center 802-922-4780

Mindi Messmer, New Hampshire State Legislator, 603-498-8847

Andrea Amico, Testing for Pease, 978-549-9122

Jeff Dugas, Keep Your Promises Dupont, 304-566-9841

 

 

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About the Coalition

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As a group, we decided to form this network in order to:
– Better support local organizing for clean water and health protection by better sharing local campaign stories, information/data/facts, and connect to experts.
– Build a bigger movement of national change on these issues by working on state and national campaigns together for solutions and to build a collaborative and powerful force to take on big polluters