The U.S. National Academy of Sciences has found that the standard for arsenic levels in drinking water should be at least as tough as the one set by the Clinton administration and then suspended by the Bush administration. Former President Clinton ordered the level to be no higher than 10 parts per billion (ppb) by 2006, the same standard set by the World Health Organization and many European countries. President Bush cast aside the standard in March. The academy report concludes, however, that even at 3 ppb, the risk of bladder and lung cancer from arsenic is between four and 10 deaths per 10,000 people; the U.S. EPA’s maximum acceptable level of risk for the past two decades for drinking water contaminants has been one death in 10,000. Officials said that EPA head Christie Todd Whitman would now go with a standard at least as stringent as Clinton’s.

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