The state Department of Environmental Services has proposed cutting the contaminant standard for drinking water in half
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES) has proposed lowering the standard for arsenic in drinking water provided by public water systems from 10 ppb to 5 ppb. The recommendation was made following a year-long review by researchers from the University of New Hampshire.
According to New Hampshire Public Radio, while state regulators recommended lowering the limit to 4 ppt last year, that recommendation was found infeasible. However, the new recommendation of 5 pbb would be one of the lowest standards in the U.S., save only New Jersey.
The study undertaken by the University of New Hampshire found that over a 70-year period, the proposed decrease could prevent between 27 and 82 lung and bladder cancer cases, and between three and eight cancer deaths. Furthermore, the study found that the reduction would prevent IQ and hearing loss for children currently drinking contaminated drinking water.
While the state estimates it will cost just under a million dollars for public water systems to comply, the study found that the majority of residents consider the upgrades a worthy investment.
The state DES has been enforcing a limit of 10 ppb for arsenic in drinking water since that limit was established in 2006 by the U.S. EPA. Prior to that, the limit was 50 ppb, as reported by the Associated Press.