Wednesday, September 24, 2008

EPA—Cleaning up Rocket Fuel not Meaningful

The Environmental Protection Agency, whose job it is to ensure safe drinking water has reached a draft conclusion that mandating a cleaning up toxic rocket fuel would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water-systems."

The decision, which has been reviewed by the Associated Press has not yet been made public, but has made its way into the media.

The "rocket fuel" ingredient the EPA is referring to is called perchlorate.

According to Wikipedia:

Perchlorate greatly impacts human health by interfering with iodide uptake into the thyroid gland. In adults, the thyroid gland helps regulate the metabolism by releasing hormones, while in children, the thyroid helps in proper development.

From the EPA website:

EPA has established an official reference dose for perchlorate which is consistent with the recommended reference dose included in the National Academy of Science's January 2005 report. A reference dose is a scientific estimate of a daily exposure level that is not expected to cause adverse health effects in humans. The reference dose will be used in EPA's ongoing efforts to address perchlorate in drinking water. It is important to note that the reference dose in EPA's draft assessment represents a preliminary estimate of a protective health level and is not a drinking water standard.

From the Associated Press

The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses, according to some scientists.

The EPA document says that mandating a clean-up level for perchlorate would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public-water systems."

The conclusion, which caps years of dispute over the issue, was denounced by Democrats and environmentalists who accused the EPA of caving to pressure from the Pentagon.

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