EPA to Set Limits on Perchlorate in Drinking Water

Environmental Law


For the first time, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) is preparing to regulate the chemical perchlorate in drinking water, and is focusing on the potential deleterious effects it may have on the next generation. Perchlorate will be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act (“SDWA”) which currently regulates approximately 70 organic and inorganic chemicals in drinking water. However, what is novel about the regulation of perchlorate is that the chemical is being regulated to protect future generations. Scientific research indicates that perchlorate can affect the thyroid and hinder the development of fetuses and infants. Perchlorate is both a natural and man-made chemical and can be found in such products as fireworks, road flares, bleach, and some fertilizers.

USEPA Administrator Linda Jackson said the USEPA will set limits on perchlorate and other toxic chemicals in drinking water. While some states already have limits on perchlorate in drinking water, this rule will provide a national standard.

The USEPA is considering the regulation of an additional 16 other toxic chemicals that may cause cancer as part of it’s Drinking Water Strategy. The Natural Resources Defense Council has pushed for this regulation for a decade and supports the move. “EPA’s decision to regulate perchlorate will not only protect our health, but reverse bad public policy that has put us at risk for years.”

USEPA is drafting a formal rule which it will publish for public comment.

For more information on drinking water regulations and toxic chemicals, please contact Miriam Villani or Jason Kaplan.

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