The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on March 31 announced that it will not regulate the chemical called perchlorate in drinking water.
Perchlorate is widely used in rocket fuel and munitions, fertilizers, and is also a component of fireworks and airbag initiators for vehicles, among other things.
While it can occur naturally, high concentrations have been found in at least 26 states, typically near military bases and defense contractors in the U.S. West, particularly around Las Vegas and in Southern California.
But EPA said on Thursday that it had concluded that the “2020 decision is supported by the best available peer-reviewed science” and thus would not be pursuing drinking water regulation at this time.
‘Higher Chances’Activists and environmental groups have called on officials to regulate perchlorate due to health concerns.
“When fetuses are exposed during pregnancy, perchlorate endangers a child’s development. Children born with even mild, subclinical deficiencies in thyroid function may have lower IQs, higher chances of being diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and visuospatial difficulties,” the organization wrote.
“The Trump EPA gave perchlorate a pass; it was a bad decision then, and it’s a bad decision now. Tap water across America will remain contaminated by this toxic chemical, which threatens the brain development of babies in the womb, infants, and young children at extremely low levels,” Olson said.
While EPA said it would not be pursuing drinking water regulation of perchlorate at this time, it is “pursuing multiple integrated actions to address perchlorate in the nation’s waters” and is taking a range of other actions such as cleaning up sites contaminated with perchlorate and protecting drinking water sources from future contamination.
The EPA also noted that its decision does not impact any state standards for the chemical, as some states have set their own limits for perchlorate in drinking water.