ICYMI: Concord Monitor: My Turn: In fight for safe water, Shaheen is making a difference
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 8, 2020
Contact: Ally Livingston, firstname.lastname@example.org
ICYMI – Andrea Amico, a clean water activist and co-founder of Testing for Pease, shared her experience advocating for New Hampshire families impacted by PFAS contamination in the Concord Monitor. She highlighted her work over the past five years with Senator Jeanne Shaheen who has fought in the Senate to get answers for Granite Staters, creating the first-ever national health study on the effects of PFAS.
“Sen. Shaheen has been our fiercest advocate, working across the aisle to make a difference for Granite Staters and all Americans impacted by PFAS contamination. She never forgot about those of us who first brought this issue to her, and she has been in constant communication with us about additional steps she can take in the fight against PFAS,” wrote Amico.
Concord Monitor: My Turn: In fight for safe water, Shaheen is making a difference
By Andrea Amico
Six years ago, my life changed when I read that the water where my husband worked and my children attended day care was contaminated.
Like a lot of Americans, access to clean water was something I had taken for granted. That changed in an instant. I learned that every day my husband and two young children were drinking unsafe water at the Pease International Tradeport, unknowingly exposing themselves to toxic “forever” chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
As a wife and as a mother, I worried what this meant for the health of my family. I dove into research, learning that PFAS are man-made chemicals found in everyday products and have been linked to serious health impacts, including harm to the immune system, developmental delays, and certain types of cancer. I also learned that thousands of other New Hampshire families like mine had been exposed to these contaminants.
I started looking for more answers. I attended community meetings, launched an online petition calling for a blood testing protocol, and connected with local moms concerned about their family’s exposure, creating our community action group called Testing for Pease.
After months of frustration, with no answers, I contacted Sen. Jeanne Shaheen’s office. I was determined to get answers and action for my family and my community. At a time when it felt like no one would listen to us, Jeanne Shaheen jumped into action. After hearing our stories, the senator shared our concerns. Most importantly, she understood the urgency of getting us answers.
Sen. Shaheen has been our fiercest advocate, working across the aisle to make a difference for Granite Staters and all Americans impacted by PFAS contamination. She never forgot about those of us who first brought this issue to her, and she has been in constant communication with us about additional steps she can take in the fight against PFAS.
In the Senate, she has led efforts to combat PFAS, creating the first-ever national health study on the effects of PFAS in our drinking water, securing over $30 million to fund the study and ensuring that its model test site would be at Pease. This year, as a top member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she passed an amendment to the annual defense bill authorizing an additional $15 million to ensure that the study is completed and we get these long overdue answers.
And she didn’t stop there. She has worked to ensure contaminated wells at Pease were filtered to prevent ongoing PFAS exposure to the impacted community. She has taken the Trump administration to task on PFAS contamination, pushing the Department of Defense to create a task force addressing PFAS contamination and helping pass a ban on firefighting foam – the product that contaminated the wells at Pease and hundreds of other military installations all over the country. She continues to work toward another ban prohibiting the DOD from purchasing items that contain PFAS.
Beyond getting answers and preventing future contamination, Sen. Shaheen is demanding accountability. She has introduced legislation to guarantee that service members who served on contaminated military bases can access blood tests and to ensure exposed families receive the best care they can by funding training and education courses on the health effects of PFAS for physicians. Sen. Shaheen is seen as a national leader on PFAS in the Senate and has worked hard to bring change to communities facing the harsh reality and devastation of PFAS contamination.
I know that no one fights harder for New Hampshire than Jeanne Shaheen because I’ve been fighting right alongside her. When I came to Sen. Shaheen with concerns about PFAS contamination in my community, she understood the grave challenges facing me and my family and she hit the ground running to get answers.
Jeanne Shaheen demonstrates the kind of leadership and compassion New Hampshire families deserve from our elected officials. I am so grateful for Sen. Shaheen’s attentiveness and hard work on PFAS issues.
If you or your community is facing a serious challenge, I encourage you to contact her too, because I know she will make a difference for you like she has for me.
Andrea Amico is a co-founder of Testing for Pease.