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Sunday, February 20, 2011

EPA to regulate toxins in drinking water, starting with SoCal’s chemical boogeyman perchlorate

The EPA has announced that it will start aggressively regulating dangerous chemicals found in our nation’s drinking water. The most striking shift in policy from the Bush Administration is the decision by the EPA to limit perchlorate, a chemical derived from rocket fuel that has seeped into ground water at over 400 sites across the country. Studies have shown that the nation’s municipal water systems contain hundreds of industrial and agricultural chemicals including some known carcinogens, that pose a significant health risk. The EPA’s announcement today is a step toward modernizing the nation’s clean water laws and dealing with the very controversial subject of perchlorate, which has been the source of debate between aerospace firms like Lockheed & Rocketdyne and environmentalists for decades. Here in Southern California, once the home of a booming aerospace industry, tons of perchlorate leached into ground water supplies from dozens of manufacturing plants across the region. To this day industry groups and environmentalists have been fighting over the long term health effects of perchlorate, which might be responsible for stunted growth of fetuses, infants and children. Will the new EPA rules make drinking water safer?

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