Special Topics in Safety Management

New Limits on Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water Proposed

The Obama administration announced last week that it would set limits on permissible levels of a new set of toxic chemicals in drinking water. These standards will now include perchlorate, a toxic compound used in rocket fuel, which has been found in water supplies in 26 states. 

The nation’s clean water laws have not kept pace with the rising number of contaminants present in water systems around the country, said EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson.

The growing list of chemicals includes a number of known carcinogens, such as solvents used in dry-cleaning and industrial manufacturing. However, perchlorate has been attracting much of the attention recently following research showing that it may impair the proper functioning of the thyroid, which can stunt growth in fetuses, infants, and children. Perchlorate contamination could be affecting anywhere from 5 million to 17 million Americans, according to the New York Times.

The EPA plans to move quickly by grouping a number of dangerous contaminants into a single rule governing their regulation, which they also argue will make following the standards easier for officials.

Source: The New York Times


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