House Resolution Would Push Accountability For Saint-Gobain’s PFAS Pollution

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State Rep. Wendy Thomas


One of New Hampshire’s “Water Warriors” presented a new House Resolution to the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee on Friday afternoon that would push for greater accountability of the manufacturing company, Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, well-known for the substantial PFAS drinking water contamination it caused in Merrimack and surrounding towns.

Rep. Wendy Thomas, D-Merrimack, has been fighting for more responsibility, transparency, and action in the years following the discovery of high levels of PFAS contamination in Merrimack’s drinking water in 2016. Her House Resolution “urges for the compensation for injuries from PFAS and for the closure and cleaning of sites affected by PFAS.”

PFAS chemicals, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are known as forever chemicals due to their slow breakdown over time. They have been linked to several adverse health impacts, according to the EPA, including hormonal interference, various cancers, and developmental effects on children. The chemicals remain in the environment and the human body for years, bioaccumulating over time with increased exposure.

Unlike a bill, a House Resolution is a message sent from one legislator to another governing entity. In this case, Thomas hopes to have her resolution sent directly to President Biden, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan, Congressman Chris Pappas, Congresswoman Annie Kuster, all Democrats, and the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, the country where Saint-Gobain is based.

The resolution as written calls for compensation from Saint-Gobain to pay for PFAS-related injuries and treatment, for water and soil to be cleaned such that they “do not represent an ongoing threat to the health of the people in the town and the surrounding environment,” the proper disposal of PFAS contaminated products and materials following the closure of the Saint-Gobain site this year, and that “efforts shall be made to ensure that the Saint-Gobain site does not remain an ongoing hazard to the town of Merrimack and the state.”

Thomas fears that once Saint-Gobain leaves Merrimack, they will no longer be held accountable for the damage they’ve done, especially if they relocate overseas. She’s hoping this resolution will help prevent that.

“This is about a corporation that has been spewing carcinogenic chemicals in our town for years,” Thomas said. “What are we going to do if they leave the United States? How are we going to go after them?”

Thomas spoke of her family’s and her own health problems that she and her doctors believe have emerged from PFAS exposure living in Merrimack. In 2022, Thomas was diagnosed with breast cancer. She later found out from blood testing that she had 12 PFAS chemicals that were above the toxic limit allowed for humans.

Thomas told the committee she has 38 times the national average of PFOA content in her blood, a type of PFAS chemical that was recently declared carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) at the World Health Organization.

“It is very expensive to try to stay healthy when these corporations are dumping these chemicals into our environment,” Thomas said.

Rep. Maria Perez, I-Milford, co-sponsored the resolution with Thomas out of concern for her own community.

“I don’t want the residents of Milford to be living with the same issue,” Perez said to the committee. She said that she and her constituents have been trying to get answers from town officials and the water department in Milford about the town’s water quality to no avail.

Legislators on the committee expressed bipartisan support for Thomas’ resolution, while their concern for the pervasiveness of PFAS contamination became increasingly apparent.

“This is something that needs to be brought to attention as soon as possible,” Rep. John Leavitt, R-Hooksett, told Thomas.

“This has come to a point where people are definitely dying because of this,” Leavitt said.

Rep. Christine Seibert wondered if PFAS exposure could be statewide, not just in and around Merrimack, after hearing Thomas speak about how PFAS-contaminated water is likely being used in restaurants and coffee shops in towns like Merrimack.

“Are they looking at people from across the state that have large amounts of PFAS in their system?” Seibert asked. “Let’s say you stop at Dunkin’ Donuts in Merrimack on your way to work, but you live up north.”

Thomas said it’s impossible to know your degree of contamination without testing for it.

“You cannot assume your water is clean unless you test,” Thomas said.

Catherine Corkery of the New Hampshire chapter of the Sierra Club testified her support for the resolution as well.

“This is a serious pollutant. This is a chemical that has been brought to our communities,” Corkery said. “It’s really devastating.”

Committee Chair Rep. Michael Moffett, R-Loudon, expressed the only concern about the resolution, regarding the details of water and soil cleanup and who would carry it out. He suggested Thomas work with another committee member to revise the language of the resolution to make it clearer.

Once Thomas revises the resolution, the State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs Committee will vote on its recommendation to pass or not pass the bill before it is then voted on by the entire House.

Ani Freedman is a contract reporter with She is a recent graduate from Columbia Journalism School with a passion for environmental, health, and accountability reporting. In her free time, she’s an avid runner and run coach. She can be reached at

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