Bush Says Administration Will Offer New Arsenic Standards
After he withdrew a new standard issued by President Clinton regarding the allowable amount of arsenic in drinking water, President Bush said yesterday that he would seek a reduction in the allowable amount only after scientific studies say what the level should be, the AP/Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The current standard is 50 parts arsenic per billion parts drinking water; Clinton's standard would have reduced that standard to 10 parts per billion. Since 1996, health and environment advocates have campaigned to reduce the current standard. A 1999 National Academy of Sciences study said arsenic in drinking water can cause bladder, lung and skin cancer and could contribute to liver and kidney cancer. According to the study, the current standard could result in a 1-in-100 risk of cancer. Angered by Bush's decision, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said, "The president is simply choosing to ignore that warning and embrace a standard that creates a cancer risk 10,000 times higher than EPA allows for food" (Heilprin, AP/Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/30).