Dangerous Levels of Rocket Fuel Chemical That Causes Thyroid Problems Will Remain in Water
According to a story in the Washington Post, "EPA Unlikely to Limit Perchlorate in Tap Water", the EPA is just about to announce a ruling that it will not set a drinking-water safety standard for perchlorate. Perchlorate is a by-product of rocket fuel production that has been shown to cause thyroid problems in pregnant women, infants and children. The Washington Post story suggests that the move is a result of White House pressure.
A number of EPA scientists have for six years been working to get regulations in place regarding perchlorate, but the Pentagon and the White House have continually opposed regulation. According to the EPA, nearly 17 million Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of perchlorate -- independent researchers say the real number of people at risk is more like 20 to 40 million. To date, unsafe levels of perchlorate have been found in the water supplies of in 35 states, at levels high enough to negatively affect thyroid function and pose health risks for fetuses and babies. Perchlorate contamination is especially widespread in California and the Southwest, where it's contaminated groundwater, the Colorado River, and produce grown in the area and consumed around the U.S.
The Pentagon and Defense Department have consistently opposed perchlorate regulation because the primary organizations causing perchlorate contamination in the first place are military bases and rocket test sites. Cleanup of such sites -- which would be required by regulation -- would cost millions of dollars, and defense contractors are threatening to sue the Defense Department to help defray the costs, if cleanup is required.