NEHA October 2022 Journal of Environmental Health

62 Volume 85 • Number 3 NEHA NEWS YOUR ASSOCIATION NEHA Government A airs Updates By Doug Farquhar (dfarquhar@neha.org) The National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Government A airs program has continued to represent and advocate for environmental health professionals over the summer months. Below is a list of our recent activities. You can also visit the Government A airs webpage at www.neha.org/government-a airs to access NEHA-approved policy statements, letters and sign-ons, the Your Insider in Government A airs Blog, and other information about our activities to inform policy makers on the importance of a well-supported and well-funded environmental health workforce. Enacted State Legislation on Food Safety, Drinking Water, and Climate Change NEHA has been tracking state legislation for the 2021–2022 session related to food safety, drinking water, and climate change. We have put together summaries of this legislation that are now posted at www.neha.org/government-a airs/neha-legislative-actions. Food Safety State legislators were active in the food safety arena. Legislators introduced 348 bills related to food safety with 69 bills enacted into law as of July 2022. Most every state legislature introduced bills related to food and food safety, and legislatures in 38 states introduced food safety legislation. California and New York enacted the most bills. The foremost food safety issues in the legislation were related to retail foods, meat and cell-based meat, and food freedom. Other popular issues included food safety, nutrition, restaurant and food facilities, food deserts, and mobile food trucks. The full report can be viewed at www.neha.org/sites/default/files/2022-Food-SafetyLegislation.pdf. Drinking Water State legislatures introduced 2,081 bills related to drinking water during the 2021–2022 legislative sessions. We tracked 265 bills on drinking water and of those bills, 41 were enacted into law as of July 2022. California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York introduced the most drinking water legislation with more than 40 bills a piece, followed by Florida and Minnesota with more than 30 bills. On the other hand, Alaska, Montana, Nevada, South Dakota, Washington, DC, and Wyoming did not introduce any legislation related to drinking water. California enacted the most legislation, merging several di erent bills into larger omnibus legislation. New York and Virginia each passed several bills on drinking water. Most states enacted only one or two bills, if they enacted any at all. The foremost issues were the financing of drinking water programs, water testing, private wells, regulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in water, and regulation and removal of lead service lines. The full report can be viewed at www.neha.org/sites/default/files/2022-DrinkingWater-Legislation.pdf. Climate Change Over 4,200 bills listing climate change, greenhouse gas, or sequestration were introduced in the 50 state legislatures and Washington, DC, during the 2021–2022 session. Of these, we tracked 190 bills that had the most relevance to climate and health. As of July 2022, 86 bills were enacted in 25 states and Washington, DC. California enacted the most bills with 19 bills enacted to date. The legislature in Maine enacted 13 bills, Hawaii enacted 8 bills, Rhode Island enacted 6 bills, and Washington enacted 8 bills. Read the full report at www.neha.org/sites/default/files/2022-ClimateChange-Legislation.pdf. New NEHA Policy Statement Over the years NEHA has researched and carefully crafted a series of policy statements in response to concerns from the environmental health professional. These statements include topics on body art, food safety, vector control, well water quality testing, mosquito control, the role of environmental health in emergency preparedness, and more. These statements are vetted by NEHA and adopted by the NEHA Board of Directors as ožcial statements of the association. These statements set forth our beliefs on a specific subject related to environmental health and are shared with state, local, and federal policy makers, as well as relevant environmental and public health boards. These policies remain active for 3 years from their adoption. Introduced in 2019, the NEHA policy statement on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) model Food Code was updated earlier this year and was approved by the NEHA Board of Directors in July at the NEHA 2022 Annual Educational Conference & Exhibition. NEHA believes that complete adoption of the current FDA model Food Code in retail food establishments will likely reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses. NEHA recommends the complete adoption and implementation of the most recent version of the FDA Food Code by all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governmental agencies to promote the most current knowledge on food safety. View this updated policy statement, as well as all other active statements, at www.neha.org/policy-statements. Support of the Inflation Reduction Act The Inflation Reduction Act (H.R. 5376), formerly known as the Build Back Better Act, passed the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in August 2022. The act was signed into law on August 16, 2022, by President Joe Biden. We are dedicated to supporting environmental health professionals who are on the front lines of helping communities mitigate and adapt to climate change and support this act. The law makes the largest investment ever made by the U.S. federal government into climate change mitigation and adaptation. It encourages a transition to clean energy, protects the public’s health, and advances environmental justice by ensuring the investments deliver significant benefits to traditionally underserved communities. Specific to environmental health, the act will provide billions of dollars in tax credits, incentives, and grants for energy and water

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