EPA not likely to set standard for perchlorate in drinking water
The U.S. EPA is expected to decide as soon as Monday whether or not to set a standard restricting the amount of perchlorate allowed in the nation’s drinking water, but so far, such a standard looks unlikely. Perchlorate is a chemical found mainly in rocket fuel and fireworks that has been associated with thyroid dysfunction in young kids and pregnant women. The EPA has been duking it out with the U.S. Department of Defense for years over potentially setting a perchlorate standard. DoD is one of the biggest perchlorate polluters around so setting a tough standard to protect public health would likely mean more expensive cleanups for the agency. The White House Office of Management and Budget, which sided with DoD, heavily edited a draft of the EPA’s proposal in order to deemphasize the health impacts of perchlorate and also pressured the EPA to use an unconventional, more permissible approach to calculating a safe dosage. “They have distorted the science to such an extent that they can justify not regulating” perchlorate, said the University of Massachusetts’s Robert Zoeller. “Infants and children will continue to be damaged, and that damage is significant.” Perchlorate has contaminated over 150 public water systems and polluted the soil and groundwater in 35 states.