Energy & Environment

Green groups angered over EPA’s newest regulations for rocket fuel chemical

Environmental groups are saying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) isn’t going far enough with its new regulations for a chemical commonly used in rocket fuel.

Scientists in various organizations are saying that proposed limits for perchlorate in drinking water were significantly higher than experts recommended.

“This is enough to make you sick — literally,” Erik Olson, senior director for health and food at Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), said in a statement. The NRDC sued the EPA in early 2016 to force it to take action on perchlorate.

{mosads}EPA’s proposed standard for perchlorate released Friday suggests placing the maximum contaminant level at 56 parts per billion (ppb). In addition, EPA  proposed requirements for water systems to conduct monitoring and reporting for perchlorate.

Yet environmentalists said the standard is 10 to 50 times higher than what scientists recommend for the chemical compound that is widely used by the military. It’s commonly found in solid rocket propellants, fireworks, matches and signal flares.

EPA under the Obama administration proposed a safe level of 15 ppb for the compound.

Some states have developed their own standard for the chemical in public drinking water. In Massachusetts the standard is 2 ppb, and in California it is 6 ppb.

“The science on perchlorate is very clear: It harms infants and the developing fetus,” said Olga Naidenko, senior science adviser for children’s environmental health at the Environmental Working Group.

“Perchlorate can cause irreparable damage to both cognitive and physical development. Instead of taking action to lower the levels of this rocket fuel chemical in drinking water, the administration’s plan will endanger the health of future generations of kids.”

The public has 60 days to comment on the proposal.

Tags chemical safety Environmental Protection Agency Perchlorate

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