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Entries in NH DHHS (616)


NH DHHS - Unregulated Contaminant Found in Pease Tradeport Water System 

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS), Division of Public Health Services, and the New Hampshire

Department of Environmental Services (DES) are today announcing a positive

test result for perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) from a well that

serves the Pease Tradeport and the New Hampshire Air National Guard base at

Pease. PFOS is one of a class of chemicals known as PFCs or

perfluorochemicals. Because the level of PFOS exceeds the “provisional

health advisory” set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the

well was immediately shut down by the City of Portsmouth.

The water in the other two wells servicing Pease also contained PFCs but

not above the provisional health advisory level. Out of an abundance of

caution, the water system for the City of Portsmouth was also recently

tested, since the systems at Pease and Portsmouth are linked, however,

water from the Pease wells is rarely used to service the city of

Portsmouth. The results were that no PFCs were detected in any of the other

supply wells or surface water sources that serve the Portsmouth water


“The City of Portsmouth takes water quality and safety seriously and is

working closely with the agencies to learn more about this unregulated

compound. In the meantime, the Haven Well will remain off line,” said

Brian Goetz, the City of Portsmouth Deputy Director of Public Works who is

overseeing this effort with water operations staff.

PFCs have been used for decades in many commercial products, such as

stain-resistant carpeting, fire-fighting foam, nonstick cookware, fabric

coatings, and some food packaging. As a result, they are found throughout

the environment. They do not break down readily in the environment or in

our bodies so low levels of PFCs can be detected in the blood stream of

most people.

“There is very little known about the health effects if any on people from

these compounds,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health at DHHS.

“Some animal studies have been conducted but have not led to any

recommendations for people, and further studies are needed.”

The water in the wells that serve Pease Tradeport is routinely tested

according to the federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements. PFCs are not

covered in the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, although six of these

compounds are being evaluated by U.S EPA to see if a drinking water

standard is warranted, and EPA’s Office of Water established and released a

Provisional Health Advisory for PFOS. Provisional Health Advisories reflect

reasonable, health-based hazard concentrations above which action should be

taken to reduce exposure to unregulated contaminants in drinking water.

“DES is working closely with the City of Portsmouth to address the presence

of PFCs in the Pease Tradeport wells so that all health-based standards and

advisories are met for water being served to their customers,” said Sarah

Pillsbury, Administrator of New Hampshire’s Public Drinking Water Program

at DES.

The Pease Tradeport previously operated as an Air Force base from 1956 to

1991. It is suspected that firefighting foam used by the Air Force starting

around 1970 for plane crashes and training exercises contained PFCs that

leached into the ground and consequently contaminated the well. The Former

Pease Air Force Base is currently a Superfund site being cleaned up by the

U.S. Air Force with oversight by DES and EPA. Investigations into the

source(s) of this well contamination will be undertaken by the Air Force

and overseen by DES and EPA.

DES, in collaboration with DHHS, the Pease Development Authority, and the

City of Portsmouth will continue to monitor the wells at Pease to ensure

the water continues to meet all EPA and State standards. Any new findings

will be made available to the public.

An informational session for the public will be held next week. A date,

time and location are being finalized and will be announced. For more

information, visit For

questions about the well water testing, people can call 603-271-9461. For

more information about the monitoring by DES, go to


NH DHHS Issues Reminder about Disease Prevention Efforts for Tick Season in NH

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

(DHHS) Division of Public Health Services (DPHS) is reminding residents

that tick season is upon us once again and that people should take

precautions to prevent being bitten by ticks and being potentially exposed

to Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses. In 2013, 1,689 cases of Lyme

disease were identified in the State of New Hampshire, with the highest

rates of disease in Hillsborough, Rockingham, and Strafford Counties.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there

were over 30,000 cases in the United States in 2012 (the most recent year

for which data are available), and New Hampshire had the highest incidence

rate of Lyme disease in the county.

Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi and is

transmitted to people by the bite of an infected black-legged tick (also

known as the deer tick). The greatest risk for Lyme disease is between the

months of May and August when the black-legged tick is in the juvenile

stage; it’s the size of a poppy seed and very difficult to see, so

individuals may be unaware they have been bitten. Ticks that transmit Lyme

can also transmit other diseases, such as anaplasmosis, babesiosis, and

Powassan virus. Although not as common as Lyme, these diseases can also

cause illness.

“Unfortunately Lyme disease remains common in New Hampshire,” said DPHS

Director of Public Health Dr. José Montero. “We cannot afford to let our

guard down since we also know that a high proportion of ticks in New

Hampshire are infected with the Lyme spirochete. We would like everyone to

consistently take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their

families from becoming ill from this and other tick-borne diseases.”

Symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue, and often a skin

rash that is round and looks like a bulls-eye. Lyme disease is treatable

with antibiotics, but if left untreated can lead to severe headaches and

neck pain caused by meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord), pain and

swelling in the large joints, shooting pains that may interfere with sleep,

and heart palpitations and dizziness.

DHHS recommends taking the following precautions to prevent tick bites:

Avoid tick-infested areas such as overgrown grass, brush, and leaf


Use insect repellent labeled as effective against ticks

Wear protective clothing (long pants and long sleeves to keep ticks

off skin)

Do daily tick checks on yourself and family members, especially after

being outdoors

Reduce ticks around your home by keeping grass short and removing

leaf litter

Speak with your healthcare provider if you are bitten by a tick or if

you notice a large round rash anywhere on you.

For more information about Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases,

visit the DHHS website at or the

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at


NH DHHS Releases Data Assessing State’s Homeless

Concord - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS),

Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services (BHHS), announces results of the

one-day statewide Point-in-Time (PIT) count of homeless individuals and

families. The count took place on 1/29/14 from 12:00 midnight to 11:59

p.m. and targeted city/town welfare offices, homeless shelters, hospitals,

police departments, soup kitchens, food pantries, outreach workers, and

other organizations serving homeless people in New Hampshire. The count is

undertaken as a coordinated effort between the three local homeless

Continuums of Care, Nashua, Manchester and the “Balance of State” which

BHHS coordinates.

The one-day count revealed 2,210 homeless individuals across the state.

This represents a 14% decrease in the number of homeless individuals from

2013 (2,576 individuals). Of that number 1,241 were sheltered (nearly the

same as 2013); 394 were unsheltered (down 11% from 2013); 575 individuals

were temporarily doubled up (temporarily residing with family or friend, a

35% decrease from 2013); 358 were families (which is a 14% decrease of

families that were homeless in 2013). Also, of the 1,664 adults surveyed,

39% (642) self-reported a severe and persistent mental illness, 33% (555)

reported having a substance abuse issue, 13% (209) were veterans, and 33%

(544) were chronically homeless.

“There are so many organizations working together to decrease homelessness

in our State,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas, “it is encouraging

to see a decline in these numbers. However, our work is far from over.

We’re still being challenged by a difficult economy and an ongoing shortage

of affordable housing. Everyone deserves a permanent place to call home so

we must continue to work together to find solutions to end homelessness.”

BHHS coordinates the PIT to gather an accurate and unduplicated count of

homeless individuals and families across the state. As part of the funding

BHHS receives from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, this

count is required to identify the needs created by the ongoing issue of

homelessness; both sheltered and unsheltered, in New Hampshire.

“The annual PIT count is important because it provides a snapshot of

homelessness in NH on any given day,” said BHHS Administrator Maureen Ryan.

“BHHS, together with our community partners, strives to obtain an accurate

and unduplicated count through statewide coordination of this effort and

eliciting participation from a wide range of service providers and other

organizations. This information helps us ensure services are targeted at

the areas and populations in need.”

View the 2014 PIT Survey map on the DHHS website at this link:


NH House Republican Alliance: Statement on SB 308 - More money to HHS 

The House Republican Alliance issued a statement today on the passage of SB 308, a bill that will increase the amount of funding paid to the health services planning and review board.  


"The board already receives $500,000 to operate and keep out competition in health care through the Certificate of Need program.  They are now asking and receiving another $300,000, a 60% increase in their funding because the board does not have the expertise to develop a state plan.  One  must question what the first $500,000 was used for, if not their expertise and now we are lavishing even more money on them?" Stated Rep. Dan McGuire, Epsom." We are potentially facing a $400 million deficit if the MET law is not upheld.  We should be looking for ways to trim our budget and work efficiently, not continually growing spending."


NH DHHS - New Hampshire Seniors Recognized for Volunteer Service

Concord, NH – New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services

Commissioner (DHHS) Nicholas Toumpas and Governor Maggie Hassan joined with

the State Committee on Aging (SCOA) and EngAGING NH to recognize this

year’s recipients of the Vaughan Awards. The Joseph D. Vaughan Awards are

presented annually to a couple or individual from each county who are 60 or

older and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and volunteer service on

behalf of senior citizens across New Hampshire.

"One of my favorite things about New Hampshire is the 'all-hands-on-deck'

spirit of our people," Governor Hassan said. "We roll up our sleeves, pitch

in and work together to improve our communities. The Vaughan Award winners

exemplify that spirit, and on behalf of all Granite Staters, I thank the

recipients for their unyielding dedication to helping their neighbors and

for service to their community."

The Joseph D. Vaughan Award was initiated in 1962 to memorialize the

Honorable Joseph D. Vaughan, a New Hampshire legislator. Vaughan was an

early advocate for older residents of the state and was instrumental in

creating a State agency dedicated to the well being of senior citizens.

“New Hampshire’s senior volunteers are a vital part of our communities,”

said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “They bring a lifetime of

experience to the organizations they serve. All our lives are enriched by

their service. We thank and recognize our Vaughan Award winners and all

our senior volunteers for the countless hours they give to helping improve

the lives of others.”

This year’s Vaughan Award recipients are:

Belknap County: Emily LaPlante of Tilton

Carroll County: William Volk of North Conway

Cheshire County: Tuck and Bobbie Gilbert of Jaffrey

Coos County: Patricia Riley of Gorham

Grafton County: Maud Thompson of Littleton

Hillsborough County: Jim Orr of Peterborough

Merrimack County: Doris Morrow of Newbury

Rockingham County: Elaine Houde of Salem

Strafford County: Richard Cooper of Dover

Sullivan County: Elaine Bevilacqua of Goshen.

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