Section 125-N:1

    125-N:1 Findings and Purpose. –
I. The general court finds that the air pollutant dioxin is a persistent bioaccumulative toxic (PBT) compound that accumulates in the food chain, posing a significant adverse threat to New Hampshire's public health and welfare and to its natural environment, including fish and wildlife. As a potent toxicant, dioxin can cause a number of adverse effects in humans including reproductive and developmental disorders, suppression of the immune system, and cancer.
II. The term "dioxin" actually refers to a group of chemical compounds that share certain similar chemical structures and mode-of-action biological characteristics. There are a total of 17 dioxin-like compounds that are members of 2 closely related families: chlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (CDDs) and chlorinated dibenzofurans (CDFs). Although some dioxin is produced naturally, it is mainly emitted as an unintended byproduct of a number of human activities. In the backyard burning of domestic waste, incomplete combustion occurs, resulting in dioxin formation. Dioxin builds up in soils, sediments, and plants; bioaccumulates in animal and fish tissue; and passes up the food chain to humans.
III. The general court further finds that while the majority of dioxin deposited in New Hampshire originates from sources outside of the state, sources within the state also contribute to deposition of dioxin in New Hampshire and in the northeast region. Dioxin emitted by anthropogenic (man-made) sources in New Hampshire comes from a number of sources including the backyard burning of trash and other combustible waste. The general court finds that the department should conduct further research and attempt to quantify the sources of dioxin emitted in New Hampshire.
IV. The general court recognizes the importance of continuing research into the human health and ecological effects of dioxin contamination. The general court also recognizes that due to existing state and federal regulations, releases of dioxin to the environment nationally have declined significantly over the past 25 years, and will continue to decline for some industrial sources as new federal regulations are implemented. Further, the general court recognizes that cost-effective technologies and pollution prevention practices need to be studied, developed and, where appropriate, implemented to reduce dioxin emissions. The general court finds, however, that some steps to reduce the dioxin pollution to which New Hampshire citizens are subjected are readily available, and that such steps should be promptly undertaken. Initial research by the department of environmental services indicates that backyard burning produces 17 percent of the dioxin emitted in New Hampshire. This figure comes from actual testing of pollution emitted by a typical burn barrel, multiplied by an estimated 5,000 such barrels in the state. Fire chiefs surveyed by the department of environmental services reported that there are probably more than 5,000 such barrels, indicating that the 17 percent figure could be low. The general court finds that imposing a ban on backyard burning of trash and other combustible domestic waste is a readily available step, and as such, represents a prudent policy for the protection of public health and the environment in the state of New Hampshire.

Source. 2001, 285:1, eff. July 16, 2001.