EPA Continues to Fight for Drinking Water

Reader Contribution by Jessie Fetterling

There’s nothing like drinking a glass of ice cold water — that is, until it’s deemed unsafe. And as of now, not even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can claim what water is or is not suitable for drinking. According to an article from theWashington Post, the EPA has yet to set a standard for perchlorate in drinking-water. Perchlorate is the main ingredient for rocket fuel, and because rocket test sites, military bases and chemical plants do a poor job disposing of the chemical, it continues to be found in soil and water.

According to the EPA, an estimated 16.6 million Americans are exposed to the chemical at levels that many scientists say are unsafe, and that directly link to thyroid problems in women, infants and young children. Independent researchers, using federal and state data, say that a more accurate number of exposures could be anywhere between 20 and 40 million.

EPA scientists that believe regulation of the chemical is necessary have been in a six-year battle with White House and Pentagon officials, who think otherwise.

A new EPA proposal, craftily edited by officials of the White House Office of Management and Budget, claims that the maximum perchlorate contamination level allowed in drinking-water is 15 times higher than what they suggested in 2002. The document claims that setting a drinking-water standard for perchlorate will not be meaningful for health risk reductions, but it also says that Americans will continue to be exposed to higher levels of the chemical if nothing is done.

So, why not start doing something? The perchlorate cleanup could cost hundreds of millions of dollars from the Department of Defense funds, which makes the situation … hmmm … questionable at best. Read more of the article here.