Healthy Communities Bill Targets Perchlorate

A U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee recently approved legislation to create a national drinking water standard for rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate.

The "Safe Drinking Water for Healthy Communities Act of 2007" (H.R. 1747) would require EPA to set a standard within 12 months of enactment. According to the subcommittee, EPA has recognized the potential health danger perchlorate presents to the public since 1998, when it was placed on the contaminant candidate list; yet, nearly 10 years later, the agency has not taken protective action. California and Massachusetts already have established state drinking water standards for perchlorate.

"For almost a decade, EPA has delayed taking action to place safe limitations on the amount of perchlorate that is present in our drinking water," said Rep. Albert Wynn (D-MD), head of the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials. "Because of the detrimental public health and environmental impacts of perchlorate, we can no longer wait for EPA to take action. The time to regulate perchlorate is now."

According to a statement by the subcommittee, if ingested, perchlorate can impair the thyroid gland's ability to produce vitally important hormones. Impairment of the thyroid in pregnant women can affect fetal development and cause decreased learning capabilities.

For more information on the bill, visit http://thomas.loc.gov, a Web site of the Library of Congress.

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