New Hampshire Poll Shows Bipartisan Support For Stronger Protections From Toxic Chemicals

Local Mothers, Businesses, Health Advocates Back Results, Encourage Reform

WASHINGTON (November 2, 2011) -- New Hampshire residents overwhelmingly support strengthening the 35-year old Toxic Substances Control Act in order to better protect the public from dangerous chemicals, according to a poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies for the Natural Resources Defense Council.

“The people of New Hampshire want strong protections against toxic chemicals for themselves and their families,” said Daniel Rosenberg, director of NRDC’s Toxic Chemicals Reform Project.  “Protecting American families from chemicals that can cause cancer or other chronic disease is not a partisan issue in New Hampshire -- or anywhere else. People expect these protections and they want them now.”

The poll, released today, found

  • 77 percent of residents support stricter regulation of chemicals produced and used in the United States.  76 percent expressed support for key elements of the Safe Chemicals Act, a Senate bill designed to reform and improve TSCA.
  •  74 percent would tell their Member of Congress to take immediate action to reform the regulation of chemicals.
  •  91 percent of Democrats, 75 percent of Independents and 64 percent of Republicans, including 54 percent of Tea Party supporters, favor federal reform.

"The fact that a majority of Tea Party members - a sub-group which typically rejects government regulation -- is supportive of government action speaks volumes about the desire for updating regulations of toxic chemicals,” said Lori Weigel, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, who conducted the poll.

In response to new science linking toxic chemicals to adverse health effects, health groups have been vocal about supporting federal reform. The Learning Disabilities Association of America has become a leader in asking for common sense limits on toxic chemicals.  

"Research increasingly points to the role of toxic chemicals in the rise of learning and developmental disabilities in New Hampshire and across the country,” said Beverly Boggess, president of the New Hampshire Learning Disabilities Association. “It makes sense that New Hampshire residents overwhelmingly support fixing our broken system for regulating toxic chemicals out of concern for our children and families. We want and deserve to be protected from unsafe chemicals,” she said.

Meanwhile, 70 percent of respondents say they have bought a product specifically because they thought it was better for their health than another product, and 69 percent say the same out of concern about the environmental impact of a product.

“Our store has had a significant increase in sales as more and more scientific articles have come out linking environmental toxins to disease – in particular, cancer,” said Deborah deMoulpied, owner of Bona Fide Green Goods in Concord, NH.  “Customers are worried and they want their government to safeguard them against toxins," she said.

Finally, 58 percent of New Hampshire residents say they would regard an elected official more favorably if he or she supports the plan to reform the law, and would view a lawmaker less favorably if he or she opposed the proposal.

"We are often the guinea pigs when it comes to product safety for many of the items we buy each week at the store," said Lindsey Carmichael, a Portsmouth mother and author of the book, Greening Your Family. Carmichael was inspired to write her book, a shopper's guide, by her 10-year-old son's struggles with asthma.

“The time is now to strengthen the outdated law regarding toxic chemical use. It is my hope and the hope of many New Hampshire parents I speak with, that our lawmakers, regardless of party affiliation, will support the Safe Chemicals Act," Carmichael added.

About the poll: Public Opinion Strategies conducted a telephone survey of 500 registered voters throughout New Hampshire. The survey, conducted August 20 to 23, 2011, has an overall margin of error of +4.38 percent statewide. Sampling error for subgroups within the sample will be larger. Interviews were distributed proportionally throughout the state, and are demographically representatives of the electorate.  Interviews were conducted both on traditional land lines and cell phones.

Information on the poll can be found here:

For more information on TSCA and this poll, see Daniel’s blog here: