Foundation chairman calls EPA ruling unacceptable risk for Americans

The Chairman of the Drinking Water Research Foundation criticized the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement stating that it will not issue a health regulation for perchlorate for public drinking water systems. Even though there is scientific agreement that perchlorate is hazardous at high doses, the EPA claims that issuing such a standard would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems"...

• EPA decision to not issue a standard for perchlorate adds to risks for America's drinking water

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Sept. 25, 2008 -- The Chairman of the Drinking Water Research Foundation criticized the recent Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announcement stating that it will not issue a health regulation for perchlorate for public drinking water systems. Even though there is scientific agreement that perchlorate is hazardous at high doses, the EPA claims that issuing such a standard would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems."

Perchlorate, a naturally occurring and man-made chemical, has been found at 395 sites across 35 states -- including 153 public drinking water systems -- in concentrations ranging from 4 to 3.7 million parts per billion, according to the Government Accountability Office testimony in April, 2007. The testimony stated that more than half the sites are in California, Texas, Nevada and Utah, and included an EPA official estimate that as many as 10 million people may have been exposed to the chemical. The EPA website notes that perchlorate "is used as the primary ingredient of solid rocket propellant."

Jack West, Chairman of the Drinking Water Research Foundation commented, "American consumers are entitled to safe drinking water. The recent EPA decision on the chemical perchlorate means continued exposure of some public drinking water systems to a chemical that poses unacceptable health risks for many Americans. A recent large study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has identified adverse thyroid effects from perchlorate in women, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notes that 'pregnant women and their fetuses and newborns have the greatest potential risk of adverse health effects following exposure to perchlorate.'"

This week's EPA announcement once again highlights the challenges and vulnerabilities of our public water systems. Aging infrastructures and a lack of critical oversight are exposing millions of Americans to harmful contaminants. The Drinking Water Research Foundation calls for increased funding to improve public water systems and to ensure that consumers have choices for their drinking water, whether tap, bottle or filter.

Jack West is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Drinking Water Research Foundation in Alexandria, Virginia. With over thirty years of experience in the bottled water industry, he is now an advisor on drinking water quality issues.

>> Visit the Drinking Water Research Foundation website

The Drinking Water Research Foundation (DWRF) is an independent, not-for-profit 501 (c) 3 foundation.

###

More in Drinking Water