EPA announces preliminary determination to regulate strontium in drinking water
EPA has announced that it has officially made a preliminary determination to regulate strontium in U.S. drinking water. Strontium is a naturally occurring element that, at elevated levels, can impact bone strength in individuals who do not consume enough calcium.
WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 23, 2014 -- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced that it has officially made a preliminary determination to regulate strontium in U.S. drinking water. Strontium is a naturally occurring element that, at elevated levels, can impact bone strength in individuals who do not consume enough calcium.
A regulatory determination is a formal decision on whether EPA should initiate a rulemaking process to regulate a specific contaminant. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) requires that every five years, the Agency develop a contaminant candidate list and then make a regulatory determination for at least five contaminants on the list.
Based on available information, the agency has initially determined that strontium has adverse health effects. Strontium replaces calcium in bone, affecting skeletal development. Although strontium affects all life stages, infants, children and adolescents are of particular concern because their bones are developing. Strontium has been detected in 99 percent of public water systems and at levels of concern in 7 percent of public water systems in the country.
Four other contaminants -- dimethoate, 1, 3 dinitrobenzene, terbufos and terbufos sulfone -- are either not found or are found at low levels of occurrence in public water systems, thus requiring no regulation at this time.
These determinations are preliminary. EPA will evaluate public feedback following a 60-day public comment period and determine whether to issue a final determination to regulate strontium. If EPA makes such a determination, the Agency will begin the process of developing a proposed rule, with hopes of publishing the final regulatory determinations in 2015.