Rocket fuel chemicals in drinking water pose a health concern that's received scant public—or government—attention. But that may be changing. Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took steps to regulate perchlorate—the rocket fuel chemical in question. President George W. Bush's administration refused to regulate perchlorate's presence in drinking water—despite the fact that the chemical can prevent proper thyroid functioning at high doses—particularly for vulnerable groups like pregnant women and children. Perchlorate is likely contaminating drinking water in at least 35 states and the District of Columbia, according to a recent article in The New York Times. The current acceptable limit for perchlorate is 15 parts per billion.
The EPA is looking into how it could use the Safe Drinking Water Act to better regulate the chemical, but has only begun what will likely be a long and difficult process. Jeff Ruch, executive director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility told the Times that he expects "heavy Pentagon and polluter lobbying" to disrupt the EPA's attempts. Federal polluters, in particular, would have to pay huge sums in clean-up if perchlorate is regulated.
The EPA is currently reevaluating the science on the chemical and is expected to release a final decision to the public.
SOURCE: The New York Times