2016 New Hampshire Revised Statutes
Title X - PUBLIC HEALTH
Chapter 125-M - MERCURY EMISSIONS REDUCTION AND CONTROL PROGRAM
Section 125-M:1 - Findings and Purpose.
I. The general court finds that mercury is a persistent, toxic pollutant that accumulates in the food chain and poses a significant adverse threat to the state's public health and welfare and to the natural environment, including fish and wildlife. As a potent neurotoxin, mercury exposure in humans can lead to birth defects, brain damage, elevated blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, low grade intermittent fevers, gastrointestinal irritation, muscle degeneration, and even death. The effects of mercury exposure on plants include decreased chlorophyll production, inhibited growth, root and leaf damage, accelerated aging, and death. Reproductive problems are the primary concern for birds. In response to the human health risk posed by mercury, the state of New Hampshire has issued a statewide advisory on the consumption of fresh water fish. This fish consumption advisory applies to all freshwater fish species collected from all inland waters. It advises women of childbearing age and young children to limit their consumption of freshwater fish to no more than one meal per month; all other people are advised to limit their consumption to no more than 4 meals per month. The Department of the Interior and the Department of Commerce have estimated that fishing expenditures in the state equal approximately $320 million annually, while the American Sportfishing Association has estimated that these expenditures support about 7,700 jobs in New Hampshire. Consequently, mercury deposition may have an impact on New Hampshire's recreational economy.
II. The general court further finds that deposition of mercury and mercury compounds is occurring in the state of New Hampshire. While the majority of emissions originate from sources outside of New Hampshire, sources within the state also contribute to mercury deposition in New Hampshire and in the northeast region. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the state of New Hampshire to undertake prudent action to reduce its contribution to mercury deposition. Approximately 98 percent of the mercury emitted by anthropogenic (man-made) sources in New Hampshire comes from the incineration of municipal solid waste and medical waste, and from the combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.
III. The general court acknowledges that in June of 1998, the New England states and the eastern Canadian provinces jointly endorsed the implementation of a Regional Mercury Action Plan calling for the virtual elimination of anthropogenic mercury emissions, with an interim goal of reducing mercury emissions 50 percent by the year 2003.
IV. The general court recognizes the importance of additional research into the human health and ecological impacts of mercury contamination, the development of technologies to reduce and measures to avoid mercury emissions to the ambient air from sources such as coal-burning electricity generation plants, and the assessment of the relative cost-effectiveness of such technologies and measures. The general court finds, however, that reducing the substantial mercury emissions from municipal waste combustors and hospital, medical and infectious waste incinerators through the use of existing technology where it can be applied cost effectively is prudent environmental policy for the state of New Hampshire.
V. Ash landfills which serve municipal waste combustors may experience increased mercury levels in the ash disposed at such landfills as a result of efforts to lower mercury emissions from such municipal waste combustors. Therefore, the general court finds that it is appropriate to implement mercury controls on municipal waste combustors after the department of environmental services conducts a detailed study and review of the ash landfills in the state to make certain that all necessary safeguards are in place to protect against environmental degradation from such sources and ensure the protection of drinking water supplies.
Source. 1999, 350:1, eff. Jan. 21, 2000.
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