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EPA crafting perchlorate standard for drinking water.

THE U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing standards for perchlorate in drinking water.

Perchlorate is a natural and human-made chemical increasingly found in groundwater and soil, and research has found exposure can disrupt thyroid function. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced in early February that the agency would move forward with a perchlorate standard for drinking water. The decision is a reversal of EPA's position under the previous presidential administration.

Perchlorate is used in manufacturing rocket fuel, fireworks, flares and explosives and also may be in bleach and some fertilizers.

The Safe Drinking Water Act gives EPA officials the authority to decide whether to regulate a contaminant. The EPA decision to set a perchlorate standard came after monitoring data found more than 4 percent of public water systems have detected perchlorate and up to 17 million people may be drinking water containing the chemical.

Jackson told the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works that EPA's work on a perchlorate standard is scientifically sound.

"The science that has led to this decision has been peer reviewed by independent scientists, public health experts and many others," Jackson said in her Feb. 2 testimony. "The next step is to update our laws in a way that is sensible and practical for protecting the health of the American people."

More information on perchlorate and EPA's action on regulating the contaminant is available at

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Author:Currie, Donya
Publication:The Nation's Health
Date:Apr 1, 2011
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