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New Hampshire to restrict water pollutant far beyond EPA guidelines

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(The Center Square) – Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill into law recently that puts forth some of the nation’s toughest drinking water standards when it comes to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, known as PFAS.

The bill uses the standards the state’s Department of Environmental Services put forth last year that limit the chemicals to 12 parts per trillion (ppt) and 15 ppt – much lower than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 70 ppt.

“We do have a PFAS problem in the state, and we’ve always said we don’t want a problem to become a crisis,” Sununu said, Seacoast Online reported.

A lawsuit that was filed last year by 3M, a farmer and several others was the inspiration for the bill. The plaintiffs, in that case, were trying to block the standards from going in effect and a judge even issued a temporary injunction last December to prevent the standards from being enforced.

State Sen. Tom Sherman, D-Rye, told Seacoast Online that clean water rights cut across party lines.

“I am proud of the bipartisan work done by the Senate to bring together four important pieces of legislation,” Sherman said.

Sherman noted that setting the PFAS maximum levels based on the latest science would help with ensuring insurance coverage for testing and help to provide relief to municipalities that are facing remediation projects.

While several business groups came out against the bill, the New Hampshire Municipal Association supported the bill.

High levels of PFAS have been linked to medical problems such as kidney cancer, pregnancy issues and higher cholesterol levels. After one study found that PFAS was exposing infants and toddlers through breast milk, the state opted to lower the standards.

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