Sunday, September 15, 2013

Perchlorate - What Does the "Government Police Office" Say?

There are a lot of reasons that toxic chemicals do not get assigned a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in America. This  2011 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report goes into detail about the failure to regulate perchlorate under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The GAO reports,

"Also, the credibility of EPA’s exposure estimate for perchlorate, which is based on a novel analysis, is reduced by the lack of a comprehensive explanation of the methodology’s limitations and uncertainties in the preliminary determination notice. Finally, according to key EPA scientists, the agency mischaracterized important scientific findings on the sensitivity of various age groups to perchlorate exposure." (pg. 2)

It is no coincidence that the DoD is the primary source of perchlorate contamination nationwide. The lack of action on perchlorate standards is similar to what happened with a commonly used solvent now found at most Superfund sites, trichloroethylene (TCE). When the EPA tried to lower the MCL for TCE in drinking water to better protect human health, lobbyists swarmed like buzzards to pick apart common sense regulation. The story of TCE, (which also forms a large contaminant plume at RAAP known as HWMU5), is chronicled in this 2006 article by Ralph Vartabedian, "How Environmentalists Lost the Battle Over TCE." It tells a story that rings true for the money and meddling that leaves us hanging on perchlorate, too.

The GAO explains why anyone with an ongoing source of perchlorate contamination in their midst should demand testing of their water for this hormone disrupting chemical. That goes double for any community relying on water that is not subject to the SDWA standards, such as that sold by any water supplier putting out a Consumer Confidence Report. No, according to the people who hold government's feet to the fire - the GAO, 

"Improvements in Implementation Are Needed to Better Assure the Public of Safe Drinking Water" (this link goes to a different report than the first GAO link)

the "government police" say that the danger of perchlorate -especially for children - is being mis-characterized.

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