This summer flew by! We've celebrated so many milestones throughout the year and this summer was no different.
In January we released our annual newsletter to participants in our New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study and shared that the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services had proposed a bill to lower the drinking water standard for arsenic. On July 13th, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu approved this bill! Soon, the state will impose a new limit on the amount of arsenic that can be present in public drinking water, reducing the maximum amount from 10 parts per billion (ppb) to 5 ppb. The research from our Birth Cohort Study and Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program informed the state's landmark decision and we couldn't be more thrilled.
Arsenic is tasteless, odorless, and naturally occurring in the bedrock found throughout New Hampshire. This poses health risks when arsenic from within the bedrock seeps into soil and enters public and private water supplies. In 2009, we began our New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study to research the long-term health effects that early life exposure to arsenic could pose to residents of New Hampshire and Vermont.
New Hampshire is the second state in the US to take action to reduce the amount of arsenic in its public water supply and we can't wait until this takes effect. We do however, urge private-well owners to continue to monitor the levels of arsenic in their drinking water supply. The new bill will require the state to monitor arsenic in public drinking water, but private-wells may still pose a risk. To find out more on how you can test your private well visit: New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services.
In light of the news that our study had provided the basis of information used in Gov.Sununu's decision to limit the levels of arsenic in public drinking water, our research was featured across several media outlets! NHPR was one of the first news outlets to break the story and soon the NH Union Leader, the National Institute of Health Sciences, and the Valley News (among others!) followed.
NBC also hosted a special segment on July 16 that highlighted the story and featured Dr. Carolyn Murray. Watch the full video below!
"We're finding health effects at levels that we previously thought were perhaps safe..About 20-25% of moms that enrolled in our study had arsenic that exceeded the ten parts per billion level" - Dr. Carolyn Murray
On August 10th, we celebrated the 10th year anniversary of the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study at the Montshire Museum in Norwich, Vermont. It was wonderful to see all the participants from our research family who could make it to the event. The celebration offered participants to learn more about our recent findings, meet staff and researchers, and explore the museum. We were delighted to see so many families attend and we hope to have more gatherings in the future! Below are some of the photos from the event!