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Perchlorate Limits to be Set for New Jersey Water

Just weeks after refusing to sign a proposed rule to regulate perchlorate levels in drinking water, state environmental commissioner Bob Martin indicated Thursday that he will implement restrictions for the chemical, which is harmful to pregnant women and fetuses.

"The commissioner does plan to institute a perchlorate regulation as quickly as possible," Larry Ragonese, a spokesman for Martin, said Thursday.

Perchlorate, a chemical ingredient of fertilizer and rocket fuel, has been found in some private and public drinking water wells in North Jersey.

EPA opinion sought

Environmentalists were angry recently when Martin, Governor Christie's new Department of Environmental Protection commissioner, did not sign a proposed rule that would have set a limit on perchlorate in drinking water.

At the time, Martin said he wanted the benefit of better science from the Environmental Protection Agency, which will take up the issue this summer.

Environmentalists argued that waiting for the EPA to move could expose New Jersey residents to high levels of perchlorate for up to six years, since it could take that long to get a rule in place.