A letter about New Hampshire lead exposure

Dear Editor,

Two months ago, Gov. Chris Sununu addressed lawmakers about the state budget. They applauded when he said, “Together, we’ll continue to improve prevention of childhood lead poisoning.”

Their applause is welcome news for supporters of H.358, legislation that reduces the risk of lead exposure by restoring New Hampshire’s ban on burning construction and demolition debris and its fuel byproducts. H.358 passed the House, and it is now the Senate’s turn to support this important legislation.

C&D is often contaminated with lead, a toxic metal for which there is no safe level of exposure. Combustion releases lead in a form that can be easily inhaled and ingested. C&D should never be burned.

Current New Hampshire law allows 250 milligrams of lead in each kilogram of C&D approved for combustion. This is a shocking amount since the toxicity of lead is measured in micrograms or a millionth of a gram. Burning 10,000 tons of C&D annually, as allowed at the Wheelabrator trash incinerator in Concord, can legally introduce 2.5 tons of lead into the environment in the form of air pollution, ash, leachate, and sludge. A proposed pyrolysis facility in Epping could process up to 146,000 tons of C&D each year to make waste-derived fuels. This is unacceptable.

Restoring New Hampshire’s sensible ban on burning C&D and C&D fuels will reduce the risk of lead exposure. I urge Gov. Sununu and the New Hampshire Senate to support H.358.


Katie Lajoie, R.N.

Charlestown, N.H.

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