Believe it or not, toxic rocket fuel is leaking into drinking water supplies around America. Perchlorate, as its technically called, has been found in water samples in 395 sites in 35 states. The level of perchlorate is high enough in these samples to affect thyroid function and to pose developmental health risks, specifically for babies and the unborn.
While this might sound shocking to you, the Environmental Protection Agency is not concerned. They have written a draft regulatory document that expresses their refusal to regulate the presence of perchlorate in drinking water.
According to the EPA document, mandating perchlorate clean-up would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction for persons served by public-water systems." This conclusion has already been questioned by both Democrats and environmentalists.
Some believe the reason the EPA has refused to regulate perchlorate is because the Defense Department is largely responsible for the drinking water contamination. Perchlorate was used for decades in testing missiles and rockets, according to Congressional investigators. If the EPA set a national drinking water standard that required costly clean-up efforts, the Defense Department could face liability.
The Defense Department denies that they intervened in the EPA's decision and insists that the high levels of perchlorate comes from fireworks, road flares and fertilizer.
Perchlorate is more problematic in California and the Southwest, where its been discovered in the Colorado River, a water source for 20 million people. While the EPA fails to act on rocket fuel in drinking water, California and Massachusetts have set a drinking water standard greatly limiting the amount of acceptable perchlorate contamination.
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