EPA Agrees to Set Limits to Rocket Fuel Ingredient in Tap Water

Friday, February 04, 2011
For the first time ever, the federal government will establish health standards for how much perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel, will be allowed in drinking water.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to take two years to determine a safe level for the toxic chemical which has been linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women and young children.
One assessment of water samples taken from 2001 to 2005 found that 153 drinking water sources in 26 states contained perchlorate. Another study produced in 2009 found the chemical was turning up in baby formula.
In addition to rockets, perchlorate is used to make fireworks and explosives. The chemical often winds up in drinking water supplies because of improper disposal at rocket testing sites, military bases and chemical plants.
Eight years ago, an EPA draft risk assessment determined that 1 part per billion should be considered safe for perchlorate. However, he standard was not enacted during the Bush administration, which merely recommended that concentrations not exceed 15 parts per billion.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
EPA to Limit Rocket Fuel Chemical in Tap Water (by Dina Cappiello, Associated Press)
Perchlorate (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)


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