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EPA Working to Find Solutions on Perchlorate

Release Date: 03/20/2003
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman 202-564-7819/ackerman.suzanne@epa.gov

(03/20/03)EPA is working with other federal agencies, the states, tribes, water suppliers and the public to evaluate perchlorate - a component of rocket fuel - as an environmental contaminant. EPA has been revising its 2002 draft health risk assessment that contains preliminary risk estimates that could be used to establish an official reference dose for perchlorate. (A reference dose is a scientific estimate of a daily exposure level that is not expected to cause adverse health effects in humans). However, the 2002 health risk assessment is not final, and substantial uncertainties remain. EPA has decided to submit questions regarding perchlorate health science to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). EPA will not complete or disseminate a final risk assessment until the NAS scientific review is concluded and the NAS comments are addressed. Accordingly, EPA has reaffirmed that its 1999 guidance on perchlorate should remain in effect pending the outcome of the NAS study. EPA also is gathering data to determine whether a drinking water standard for perchlorate is appropriate.