USEPA nears decision on perchlorate water standard

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of making a final decision on whether to set a drinking water standard for perchlorate.

A government official briefed by the EPA told The Associated Press news agency on 30 September 2010 that the agency has proposed that the chemical perchlorate be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The official, who did not want to be named because a final decision had not been made, said the plan was under interagency review.

EPA spokesperson Betsaida Alcantara Alcantara said, “Last year, Administrator (Lisa) Jackson directed EPA to re-evaluate the science on perchlorate and to take into consideration the impacts on the most vulnerable populations, infants and young children”.

Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical and is used to manufacture fireworks, explosives, flares and rocket propellant. Reverse-osmosis membrane technology has been certified by NSF International to remove perchlorate from levels as high as 130 µg/L to 4 µg/L or less in drinking water.

In 2008, under president George W Bush, the EPA decided against regulating the chemical, saying that setting a federal standard would do little to reduce risks to public health. Most perchlorate contamination in the USA stems from Department of Defense activities.