Bush Administration Should Adopt Clinton Era Arsenic Rules, Sacramento Bee Says
After setting aside Clinton administration regulations that would have set the amount of allowable arsenic in drinking water at 10 parts per billion by 2006, the Bush administration should now, in light of new findings from the National Academy of Sciences, move to adopt the Clinton rules, a Sacramento Bee editorial says (Sacramento Bee, 10/2). A National Academy of Sciences report released last month stated that the cancer risk caused by 10 parts arsenic per billion in drinking water is high, which could mean that arsenic standards should be set at even lower levels. Earlier this year, EPA Administrator Christine Whitman rescinded the Clinton administration standard and called for the EPA to review the cost and health effects of standards between three parts per billion and 20 parts per billion. The current standard is 50 parts per billion (California Healthline, 9/18). However, the editorial notes that as the arsenic standard drops, costs increase for the consumer. Costs of lowering the arsenic level could become so "counterproductive" that some communities "with marginal water systems" may be discouraged from "moving to treated water." While most California towns could have met the Clinton standard, some "faced millions in new costs." Nevertheless, the editorial says the study "reinforces the wisdom of the Clinton decision." The editorial concludes: "For the Bush administration, adopting the same standard now would not only be good politics, but good science as well" (Sacramento Bee, 10/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.