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EarthJustice : Environmental Groups to Challenge Fed's Refusal to Limit Perchlorate in Drinking Water & Sue the EPA

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: water, contamination, perchlorate, highly soluble, toxin, rocket fuel, health, risks, EPA, refusal, federal standard, safety, action, lawsuit, sue, California Senator, Rep, legislation, White House )

- 3913 days ago -
Rocket fuel toxin has tainted drinking water in 26 states, pregnant women & newborns at greatest risk. Defense Dep & Pentagon contractors lobbied 6 yrs to avoid fed drinking-water standard for perchlorate. >10 million have rocket fuel in drinking H2O...


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LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday October 4, 2008, 11:27 am

From the Washington Post article that first reported this, EPA Makes No Rule On Chemical in Water, we discover:

"...White House officials EXTENSIVELY EDITED the EPA's perchlorate rule-making documentation to REMOVE scientific data highlighting some of the risks associated with the chemical, which has been found in water in 35 states.

The Defense Department and Pentagon contractors who face legal liability stemming from ROCKET FUEL CONTAMINATION have LOBBIED for SIX years to avoid a federal drinking-water standard for perchlorate.

In the document released yesterday, the EPA assumes that the MAXIMUM SAFE perchlorate CONTAMINATION LEVEL is 15 TIMES HIGHER than what the agency suggested in 2002.

"Once again on a Friday, when nobody is paying attention, the Bush administration announces a policy that will harm the American people," Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee, said in a statement.

"The Bush EPA's failure to set a standard for perchlorate, a dangerous contaminant found in drinking water, is outrageous, and I will do everything in my power to reverse it. Perchlorate contamination endangers the health of our families, especially pregnant women and children, and to simply allow it to remain in our drinking water is immoral," Boxer said.

The EPA statement said that its regulatory determination will be open for public comment for 30 days and that once the rule is final, the agency will issue a health advisory to guide state and local officials."

The Environmental Working Group, which is one of the groups involved in the lawsuit against the EPA, has an excellent editorial on the subject online at Environmental Health News:
Defense industry wins, people lose with perchlorate contamination

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Saturday October 4, 2008, 12:02 pm

There is a 30-day deadline at the EPA for public comments before their rule becomes final.

I would like to find a site with a form letter or a model statement that makes it easy for everyone to submit & e-mail the EPA, but I haven't been able to find one yet.

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

Only two states - Massachusetts and California - set limits on the allowable amount of perchlorate in drinking water, both at levels far below what the EPA now deems permissible.

The ingredient, perchlorate, has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states at levels some scientists say could interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses.

From the Organic Consumers site:
An October 2006 Environmental Working Group report found, among other scary things, 97% of breast milk samples taken randomly from around the U.S. have tested positive for perchlorates.
Scientists warn that the chemical, known as perchlorate, could cause thyroid deficiency in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing age.

This thyroid deficiency could damage the fetus of pregnant women, if left untreated. Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, has leaked from military bases and defense and aerospace contractors' plants in at least 22 states, contaminating drinking water for millions of Americans.

The Pentagon is urging Congress to pass a new law that would allow the military to freely violate a host of environmental regulations. Entitled "The Readiness and Range Preservation Initiative," the legislation would allow military facilities to ignore laws like the Clean Air Act. The Pentagon claims environmental regulations are a threat to national security, since they restrict the military.

To date, only one Senator has had the backbone to propose legislation that would hold the military (and other perchlorate polluters) responsible for this excessive pollution of the U.S. food and water supply.

Senator Feinstein (CA) has proposed legislation that would spend $200 million to identify and clean up perchlorate sources and provide grants for technologies to clean up existing contamination, while holding perchlorate polluters responsible for cleanup efforts.

Links to the report and a Take Action in favour of Senator Feinstein's legislation are found here -

- but these were already on the Organic Consumers site before the new EPA decision not to set safety limits on toxic perchlorate.

Pamylle G (458)
Sunday October 5, 2008, 5:00 am
Thanks, Jill, I have never even heard of perchlorate ! I love Earth Justice.

You know, Feinstein's bill doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell...

Perhaps a petition to stir things up a bit ?

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Monday October 6, 2008, 2:06 am
There IS a petition on the ORGANIC CONSUMERS site - to support Senator Feinstein's bill --- but although I was able to sign, I realize that it dates, has probably been online since 2006.
Now that Congress has adjourned (is it until after the elections or for the year ?), this is not going to have any impact now, I fear.

I mentioned this petition and gave the URL for it in my comment just above yours, Pamylle.

The second item on the page, JUST BEFORE the petition, is this

and you can tell that they haven't updated their 'perchlorate' page because the TIMELINE ends with 'October 2006,' failing to mention the October, 2008 events, namely the EPA's refusal to set limits on perchlorate levels in drinking water and the banding together of environmental groups in the EarthJustice lawsuit.


2002: EPA releases draft report highlighting widespread water contamination of a toxic rocket fuel byproduct known as perchlorate. The report indicates that most of the pollution is coming from U.S. military sites [Source]

January 2003 : Courtroom proceedings reveal that aerospace and defense contractor Lockheed Martin was concealing documents for several years indicating the company knew about toxic levels of percholate contamination in the nation's vegetable produce. [Source]

March 2003: California's Senator Feinstein demands the military clean up perchlorate pollution as a matter of public safety. The Department of Defense responds by saying it must be exempt from perchlorate liability, as a matter of anti-terrorist "readiness." [Source].

April 2003: Bush Administration puts gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency, mandating complete silence regarding military perchlorate pollution and human health impacts. [Source]

November 2004: FDA finds perchlorate in 93% of lettuce and milk samples across the nation. Bush Administration requests no regulatory action take place until the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) concludes investigation of human health implications. [Source]

January 2005: NAS announces perchlorates are as much as ten times as toxic as what the Department of Defense had been claiming. Senator Feinstein of California announces forthcoming bill proposal to create federal perchlorate regulations and to allocate funding for cleanup of existing contamination. [Source]

February 2005: EPA adopts NAS recommendations and recommends weak reference dose standards for drinking water without any public comment or review. [Source]

June 2005: Senator Feinstein files letter with EPA requesting a review of perchlorate data and stricter perchlorate drinking water standards. [Source]
October 2006: The Environmental Working Group releases a study indicating that perchlorate pollution has put 2.2 million women and their children at risk. [Source]

Jim Phillips (3247)
Tuesday November 4, 2008, 8:00 pm
Petition signed.

TY, Alba.


Jim Phillips (3247)
Tuesday November 4, 2008, 8:14 pm
Two other petitions are available for signing at: copy & paste:


TY, Alba


Jim Phillips (3247)
Tuesday November 4, 2008, 8:24 pm
Another petition;

TY, Alba.
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