EPA declines to set standard for perchlorate in drinking water
As predicted last month, the U.S. EPA said on Friday it would not issue national standards limiting the amount of perchlorate allowed in drinking water. In making its decision, which critics charge was heavily influenced by the U.S. Defense Department, EPA said that even though perchlorate has contaminated over 150 public water systems in the U.S., that number represents less than 1 percent of U.S. drinking water systems overall, and thus, there is not a “meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction” through setting a national drinking water standard. Perchlorate comes mainly from rocket fuel, munitions, and fireworks and has been associated with thyroid dysfunction in young kids and pregnant women. Even though EPA declined to set a national standard, the agency said it encourages states to follow the lead of California and Massachusetts and set their own standards. “States have the right to establish and enforce drinking water standards and EPA encourages state-specific situations to be addressed at the local level,” the agency said. The EPA will issue its final decision on perchlorate after a 30-day public comment period.