Environmental Illness; Injury

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.

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

                   A  BILL  FOR  AN  ACT



 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

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                                     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

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                                     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.
 3                           INTRODUCED BY:  _______________________