Environmental Public Health Questions Answered

Public health officials, attorneys, policy-makers and advocates have reached out to the Network with requests for legal assistance. Below are some of these requests and the responses given by Network attorneys. To protect privacy, names are not included in the examples. In addition, the Network will not share an example if a requestor asks for his or her request to be withheld.

If you have a question, submit it here.

Plastic Bag Regulations and Preemption

posted on Mon, Oct 23 2017 3:24 pm by Network for Public Health Law

A climate and health specialist contacted the Network for information about resources related to preemption of local laws by states, specifically state-level preemption of bans on the use of plastic bags by grocery stores, convenience stores and other establishments.

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Regulation of Open Burning

posted on Tue, Jun 23 2015 5:02 pm by The Network

 “Open burning,” the practice of burning refuse – often trash, leaves, or scrap wood – in the open air, is a common method of disposal but can have serious consequences for environmental safety and the public’s health. Open burning ordinances and model laws are available from several jurisdictions.

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Regulating Well Water

posted on Wed, May 28 2014 10:58 am by Eastern Region

The Network was recently contacted by the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES). The department is interested in helping local authorities regulate well water quality in New Hampshire – specifically through local ordinances requiring water quality testing for new private wells. The DES wondered if it would be better to recommend that locals pass the ordinance based on the local health officer’s nuisance authority, or if it should recommend using the state’s building code as the basis for the ordinance.

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Bed Bugs in the Workplace

posted on Wed, Mar 19 2014 1:41 pm by Eastern Region

The Network was asked about workers’ rights in dealing with bed bugs in their workplace and in homes provided by their employer. The Network researched the issue and found that in the requestor’s state, there is no law that addresses bed bugs. However, there are a number of useful resources on bed bugs, and specifically, bed bugs in the workplace.

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Pesticide, Herbicide and Synthetic Fertilizer use in Cities

posted on Thu, Aug 1 2013 12:00 am by Northern Region

A city council member seeking to address use of pesticide, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers in the context of a comprehensive city planning process  recently contacted the local health officer, who came to the Network for more information.

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Frac Sand Mining and Public Health

posted on Wed, May 15 2013 3:56 pm by Northern Region

The Network recently received an inquiry from a health official about whether local government zoning permits to engage in frac sand mining can include conditions or contemplate modifications that would protect public health.

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Sale of Items with BPA

posted on Mon, Aug 1 2011 12:00 am by Eastern Region

A county health department that was considering a ban on the sale of products that contain the industrial chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, requested guidance on the topic.

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