REPORT TITLE:
Environmental Illness; Injury


DESCRIPTION:
Requires the DOH to investigate and evaluate any suspicious or
significant cluster or increase of illness or injury that is:
(1) suspected of being caused by environmental contamination; or
(2) reported to the DOH by the DOE or a community.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
                                            1740        
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES                H.B. NO.           
TWENTIETH LEGISLATURE, 1999                                
STATE OF HAWAII                                            
                                                             
________________________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________


                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT

RELATING TO HEALTH.



BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 1      SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that, as the population of
 
 2 the State grows, homes and schools are being constructed on
 
 3 former agricultural lands or facilities formerly used by the
 
 4 military.  This situation is certain to increase as agriculture
 
 5 declines and the military downsizes and additional lands become
 
 6 available for urbanization.  Environmental health hazards in the
 
 7 soil, as residue from pesticides or contaminated drinking water,
 
 8 can remain undetected until significant clusters of disease or
 
 9 illness are identified.  Secret underground military facilities,
 
10 such as tunnels and bunkers, in which were stored munitions and
 
11 supplies, are also capable of causing environmental health
 
12 hazards.
 
13      The legislature finds that significant clusters of illness
 
14 or disease are not readily identifiable until some commonality
 
15 occurs, such as proximate neighbors comparing notes or children
 
16 of the same age-level entering a single neighborhood school being
 
17 enrolled in special education classes.  The legislature also
 
18 finds that some of the existing statutes relative to this issue
 
19 were created over a generation before new residential
 

 
Page 2                                         1740        
                                     H.B. NO.           
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 developments began to grow on former agricultural and military
 
 2 lands and may need revising in view of current circumstances.
 
 3      The legislature further finds that when a significant
 
 4 cluster or increase of illness or injury occurs in a school or
 
 5 community and is identified by faculty or community members, it
 
 6 should be the ethical duty of the principal and faculty members,
 
 7 and the civic duty of community members, to report their
 
 8 suspicions to the department of health.  The department of health
 
 9 should be responsible for the provision of related health
 
10 services.  The legislature also finds that the department of
 
11 health should have the authority to pool the resources of other
 
12 state departments, such as the department of agriculture, the
 
13 department of education, the department of land and natural
 
14 resources, and the University of Hawaii, to investigate and
 
15 evaluate reports of significant clusters or increases of illness
 
16 or injury occurring in a school or community.
 
17      Accordingly, the purpose of this Act is to assign
 
18 responsibility to, and clarify the duties of, the department of
 
19 health with respect to any significant increase or cluster of
 
20 illness or injury in a school or community that is suspected of
 
21 being related to environmental contamination.
 
22      SECTION 2.  Chapter 321, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended
 
23 by adding a new section to part XXIV to be appropriately
 

 
Page 3                                         1740        
                                     H.B. NO.           
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1 designated and to read as follows:
 
 2      "321-     Investigation, evaluation, and reporting of
 
 3 environmentally-related illnesses and injuries; identification
 
 4 and coordination of health care needs.  (a)  The department of
 
 5 health shall investigate and evaluate any suspicious or
 
 6 significant cluster or increase of illness or injury that is:
 
 7      (1)  Suspected of being caused by environmental
 
 8           contamination; or
 
 9      (2)  Reported to the department of health by the department
 
10           of education or a community.
 
11 The department of health may pool the resources of other state
 
12 agencies to conduct the necessary investigation and evaluation,
 
13 which shall include soil, water, and air testing as applicable.
 
14      (b)  The department of health shall report to the public any
 
15 findings relating to the presence or absence of any suspicious or
 
16 significant cluster or increase of illness or injury that is
 
17 suspected of being caused by environmental contamination.
 
18      (c)  The department of health shall identify and coordinate
 
19 the immediate and long-term health care needs of adults and
 
20 children whose illnesses or injuries are suspected of being
 
21 caused by environmental contamination."
 
22      SECTION 5.  New statutory material is underscored.
 

 
 
 
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                                     H.B. NO.           
                                                        
                                                        

 
 1      SECTION 6.  This Act shall take effect upon its approval.
 
 2 
 
 3                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________