Roche is wrong on PFAS standards



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To the editor:

I read with interest Jim Roche’s op-ed (Dec 7-20 NH Business Review) on PFAS and science and regulation, and began thinking where to start, but then I ran across a this letter in Foster’s Daily Democrat from a citizen in Merrimack Foster’s addressing his piece.

It is true EPA had established a voluntary threshold for PFAS of 70 parts per trillion. However, I feel it is necessary to point out that documents obtained by the Union of Concerned Scientists through a Freedom of Information Act request this spring showed that the Trump administration, suggesting a new government assessment on PFAS was a “public relations nightmare,” suppressed a new government assessment on the health effects of PFAS. When the study was finally released in June 2018, it revealed that PFAS exposure could be dangerous at the levels EPA considers safe.

In fact, the 2018 assessment by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, finds that the safe level of PFAS exposure is 7 to 10 times lower than the EPA’s non-enforceable drinking water advisory.

In his call to use the EPA advisory levels, and not have NHDES adopt stricter standards, Jim Roche spins science to his convenience. Yet Roche cannot back up his threadbare “bad for business” cliché with data to illustrate his claim that stricter pollution enforcement of PFAS would harm the bottom lines of the utilities and businesses he represents. In short, Jim Roche’s call for sound science is too clever by half.

Roger Stephenson

Northeast regional advocacy director

Union of Concerned Scientists

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