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EPA Seeks Comments on its Reevaluation of the Chemical Perchlorate

Release Date: 08/05/2009
Contact Information: Enesta Jones, jones.enesta@epa.gov, 202-564-7873, 202-564-4355

WASHINGTON – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson announced that the agency is taking an important step to ensure children’s health is taken into account when evaluating the chemical perchlorate. To enhance transparency, the agency is seeking public comment on its re-evaluation of the scientific information on perchlorate in drinking water. Under the previous administration, EPA made a preliminary decision not to regulate perchlorate. Administrator Jackson directed EPA staff to review that decision and, as part of that review, the agency is putting special emphasis on evaluating the impact of perchlorate on infants and young children.

“It is critically important to protect sensitive populations, particularly infants and young children, from perchlorate in drinking water,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “As we re-evaluate the science around perchlorate, we will seek public input before making a regulatory determination based on the best science.”

The analysis presented in the notice announced today more directly evaluates children’s exposure to perchlorate. This step takes into account the fact that infants and children consume more water per body weight than do adults. EPA is now considering a broader range of alternatives for interpreting the available data on the level of health concern, the frequency of occurrence of perchlorate in drinking water, and the opportunity for health risk reduction through a national primary drinking water standard. These alternative interpretations may impact the agency’s final regulatory determination for perchlorate.

In response to a 2008 preliminary determination not to regulate perchlorate, EPA received and reviewed comments from more than 32,000 individuals and organizations. EPA will consider those comments, as well as new comments received during the 30-day comment period on the current notice, before making a final decision on whether to regulate perchlorate under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and man-made chemical. Perchlorate is used in the manufacture of fireworks, flares and solid rocket propellant.

The current notice will be available for public comment 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

More information:
http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/unregulated/perchlorate.html