Drinking Water Research Group Criticizes Perchlorate Decision

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to not issue a standard for perchlorate adds to risks for America's drinking water, said Jack West, chair of the Board of Trustees of the Drinking Water Research Foundation, in a Sept. 25 press release.

The foundation criticized the agency's recent announcement stating that it will not issue a health regulation for perchlorate for public drinking water systems. Even though there is scientific agreement that perchlorate is hazardous at high doses, EPA says that issuing such a standard would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems."

Perchlorate, a naturally occurring and man-made chemical, has been found at 395 sites across 35 states -- including 153 public drinking water systems -- in concentrations ranging from 4 to 3.7 million parts per billion, according to the Government Accountability Office testimony in April, 2007. The testimony stated that more than half the sites are in California, Texas, Nevada, and Utah, and included an EPA official estimate that as many as 10 million people may have been exposed to the chemical. The EPA Web site notes that perchlorate "is used as the primary ingredient of solid rocket propellant."

West added that "A recent large study by the Centers for Disease Control has identified adverse thyroid effects from perchlorate in women, and the Food and Drug Administration notes that 'pregnant women and their fetuses and newborns have the greatest potential risk of adverse health effects following exposure to perchlorate.'"

The Drinking Water Research Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 foundation that was established in 1984 and is based in Alexandria, Va.

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