Jul 16, 2019

New Hampshire Lowers Arsenic Limit for Drinking Water

Approved standard will limit arsenic to 5 ppb

Approved standard will limit arsenic to 5 ppb

Updated 11/25/19

New Hampshire has become the second U.S. state to dramatically lower the arsenic limit in drinking water. 

According to New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR), Gov. Chris Sununu signed a bill Friday to more strictly limit arsenic in drinking water. The standard will limit arsenic levels to 5 ppb in drinking water, which currently is half the federal limit. New Jersey was the first state in the U.S. to make a change similar to this. 

The new arsenic standard must take effect within the next two years, according to NHPR. It will cost $2.6 million for the municipal and school district water system in the first year, and around $1.4 million in the years after. 

The new law was based on a recent study indicating the new arsenic limit will help residents avoid cases of cancer, death and other negative health outcomes, according to NHPR. Most drinking water in New Hampshire is from groundwater containing high levels of arsenic. According to a Dartmouth College study this may be a reason the state has high rates bladder cancer, and also suggests the exposure to arsenic may be linked to heart disease and diabetes. 

According to NHPR, half of New Hampshire residents use private wells. Private well are not subject to this new arsenic regulation. However, New Hampshire officials recommend private well users regularly test their water and follow state water treatment guidelines. 

According to a Department of Environmental Services fact sheet, 20% of the state’s well had arsenic levels above 10 ppb as of 2010, which was above the state’s former standard. According to the Dartmouth College study, one third of public water systems in the state contain arsenic.

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