2017 PRNDI Entry - Continuing Coverage: Toxic Water: PFC Contamination in Southern New Hampshire

Mar 7, 2017

Entry note: An audio montage of this submission is featured below, in addition to individual stories.

In March of 2016, officials in Merrimack, New Hampshire learned a multi-national plastics plant may have contaminated the region’s drinking water. Since then, NHPR’s Emily Corwin has covered incremental updates such as state-funded blood testing and new federal health advisories; she’s investigated the use of likely toxic perfluorichemical replacements at the plant; and told the stories of residents, some of whom fear their drinking water has already made them sick.

Scientific studies have shown links between perfluorichemicals (or "PFCs")  and a variety of cancers, and the EPA has advised companies to stop using certain types of them. Nevertheless, these chemicals remain unregulated by the federal government, and health officials in New Hampshire continue to tell residents the chemicals’ effects are not yet known.

Listen to a montage of Emily's reporting:

Water contamination features and interviews:

3.10.16: DES Criticized For Understating Health Risks Of Merrimack Water Contaminant

4.22.16: Untangling Why Saint-Gobain Chose New Hampshire

5.6.16: In Addition To Saint-Gobain, 43 Companies In N.H. Have Used Perfluorinated Chemicals

5.19.16: EPA Announces Lifetime PFOA and PFOS Advisory Level

5.23.16: Connecting The Dots: PFOA, Congress And The EPA

5.25.16: Residents File Lawsuit Against Saint-Gobain Over Contaminated Wells

5.31.16 Emergency Rule Means N.H. Can Regulate PFOA and PFOS

6.7.16: U.S. Companies Replace Teflon Toxin With Chemical Cousin. Is It Safe?

6.24.16 Merrimack Town Councilor Calls Water District's Communication "Inept"

8.16.16: Last Chance To Weigh In On N.H.'s 'Teflon Toxin' Drinking Water Standard

8.24.16: Likely State Water Standards Not Safe Enough, Says Harvard Research Fellow

9.9.16: Near Saint-Gobain, Sick Residents Wonder Who Is To Blame