EPA Planning Steps To Limit Toxins in U.S. Public Drinking Water
On Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency took actions to control toxins in drinking water, particularly perchlorate, which can have negative health effects, the Miami Herald reports.
Perchlorate has been found in hundreds of public water wells and food in 45 states, particularly in California, where it has been found in high levels near military and aerospace bases and manufacturing plants (Banerjee, Miami Herald, 2/2).
According to the New York Times, the announcement is a step toward updating the clean water laws, which have not kept up with environmental and health science research.
The announcement countered a 2008 finding by the Bush administration that setting a national standard for perchlorate is unnecessary and would do little to reduce health risks. While EPA did not set an actual limit on the amount of perchlorate it will allow in drinking water, it did set in motion a process to do so, though it is unclear what the federal standards will be (Broder, New York Times, 2/2).
EPA also launched a plan to set standards for 16 other toxic substances that can get into food and drinking water and cause health problems (Miami Herald, 2/2).
Setting the standards will take three or four years, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said.
Environmentalists have been pushing for updated drinking water regulations for years, according to the Times. However, military contractors who use perchlorate as rocket fuel propellant have said perchlorate substitutes are too costly (New York Times, 2/2).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.