NHDES Proposes Ridiculously Restrictive Water Standard for PFOA/PFAS - Granite Grok

NHDES Proposes Ridiculously Restrictive Water Standard for PFOA/PFAS


At ten parts per billion (ppb), a child would need to drink 462 gallons of water a day (for some unknown period of time) to achieve the exposure level to PFOA or PFAS known to result in a likelihood of adverse health effects. New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) is recommending 12-15 parts per trillion (ppt).

Related: No Rise in Merrimack Cancers after PFOA “Contamination” is Not Surprising

I’ve written extensively about this problem. It’s mostly scaremongering and posturing whose only purpose is to enrich state and local government with fines and fat lawsuit awards for no actual good. It’s called Jackpot Justice. New Hampshire loves it. So does NHDES. 12-15 ppt will do just that and little else. It’s absurd.

We can thank Vermont. They set their standard at this ridiculous level, and New Hampshire has decided, why not us?

Why not?

Well, I’m not opposed to the idea of limiting exposure to anything harmful. I’m certainly in favor of asking polluters to clean up their mess, finance infrastructure improvements to limit exposure, and suffer consequences when there is obvious malfeasance or misfeasance. But as noted here, the dose makes the poison. Almost anything in a high enough concentration can cause problems. The balance is to determine where to draw a sensible line to ensure that the benefits of a thing are not made cost-prohibitive for no good reason.

The suggested 12 ppt for PFOA and 15 ppt for PFAS are prohibitive. The science does not support it. People exposed to higher concentrations for more extended periods (employees who handle the stuff, for example) don’t have a higher incidence of health issues. Merrimack didn’t have any higher incidence of Cancer.

New research hopes to add depth, but there is no consensus or even guidance, which is why EPA soft-balled its unenforceable 70 ppt guidance. It’s an unrealistic guess.

The proposed NHDES standards are a guess with potential for a paycheck. Saying “well, Vermont did it” isn’t science. It is an excuse to create opportunities for government enrichment at the expense of everyone else.

Vermont’s Republican Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill this month that put in place an interim drinking water standard of 20 ppt for the sum of five PFAS. The state is working to establish a permanent 20 ppt standard for five compounds in any combination, and on Thursday sued several companies for damage it says has been caused by the chemicals.

I’m opposed to this nonsense, but will New Hampshire listen? Regardless of which party is running the executive we’ve got a history of finding hired-guns to push big dollar lawsuits for one-time payouts — confidence scams based on public relations fearmongering ginned up by State agencies who stand to benefit.

This is no different.

| Detroit News

Update: the sentence that said “we’ve got a history of fining hired-guns” should have said, “we’ve got a history of finding hired-guns.” It has been corrected.