Tom Roberts authored an article in the Environmental Law Institute's November edition of The Environmental Forum. The article examines the Environmental Protections Agency's Regulatory Determination on Perchlorate, concluding that the chemical should be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
EPA’s Regulatory Determination on Perchlorate, issued last February, concluding that perchlorate should be regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act is not supported by well-established science and is contrary to the explicit requirements of the statute.
In 2005, the National Academy of Sciences determined that perchlorate has no measurable effect on the adult human body at a level equivalent to 245 parts per billion (ppb) in drinking water. The NAS further determined that 24.5 ppb perchlorate in drinking water — a 10-fold safety factor from the no observed effect level — would be safe for even the most sensitive populations. Subsequent studies have confirmed the NAS conclusions, specifically with respect to developing fetuses and newborns.
Perchlorate — a naturally occurring and man-made salt used in military, aerospace, and industrial settings — is one of the most studied chemicals under regulatory review. It has been the subject of more than 60 years of research, beginning with its worldwide use as a prescribed drug to treat Graves’ disease. It is precisely because perchlorate has been so extensively studied that its lack of health effects at environmental levels is so well understood.
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This article first appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of The Environmental Forum. For further information please visit www.eli.org.