Rockets’ Red Scare
California First State to Announce Perchlorate Limits
Last week, California regulators announced a “public health goal” that will lead to formal regulations restricting levels of perchlorate — a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel that damages thyroid glands — in the water supply, thus becoming the first state to define such standards. The recommendation, 6 parts per billion, prompted much debate. Environmental groups had hoped for a more stringent standard, like the 1 ppb standard the U.S. EPA has provisionally adopted, pending a more comprehensive study by the National Academy of Sciences. The California Department of Health Services will now develop an official regulatory standard, taking into account the recommendation, the NAS study, and the costs of cleaning widely polluted water supplies like the lower Colorado River. The Pentagon is lobbying the state — and the U.S. EPA — not for the 1 ppb standard, nor the 6 ppb, but for … 200 ppb. We wish that were a typo.