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EPA says perchlorate can remain in water

September 23, 2008|From the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency says there's no need to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has fouled water supplies around the country, including in California.

The EPA's conclusion is in a draft document not yet made public but reviewed Monday by the Associated Press.

Perchlorate has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses, according to some scientists.

The EPA document says that mandating a cleanup level for perchlorate would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public water systems."

Perchlorate is particularly widespread in California and the Southwest, where it's been found in groundwater and in the Colorado River, a drinking-water source for 20 million people. It also has been found in lettuce and other foods.

In absence of federal action, states have acted on their own. In 2007, California adopted a drinking-water standard of 6 parts per billion.

Massachusetts has set a drinking-water standard of 2 parts per billion.

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