The U.S. EPA said yesterday it would revoke a Clinton administration rule to reduce the acceptable level of arsenic in drinking water by 80 percent. EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman said that there is “no consensus on a particular safe level” of arsenic in drinking water, and that the Bush administration would base its decision on “sound science and solid analysis.” The 10 parts per billion standard approved by former President Clinton matches the standard adopted several years ago by both the World Health Organization and the European Union. The EPA decision hands a victory to the mining industry, and leaves in place an arsenic standard set in 1942, one that the U.S. National Academy of Sciences has said could result in a 1-in-100 risk of cancer in communities that have arsenic in their drinking water.

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