2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 11 Jan 2005 19:39:44 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] More stories on NAS perchlorate report
Scientists dispute peril of a pollutant 

Newark Star-Ledger 
January 11, 2005

A federal panel of scientists yesterday criticized the government's
plans to strictly limit a rocket-fuel ingredient turning up in drinking
water in New Jersey and elsewhere, saying the chemical was not as
dangerous as regulators believed. 

Environmentalists immediately fired back, charging that White House and
Pentagon officials had stacked and scripted the panel at the behest of
the defense contractors who would have to clean up the chemical. 

Yesterday's back-and-forth demonstrated the increasing urgency
nationwide about perchlorate, a rocket-fuel ingredient that has been
found in as many as three dozen water systems in New Jersey and in
water, milk and lettuce in various other parts of the country in the
past few years. 


For the entire article, see


Perchlorate danger less than feared, panel says

Riverside Press-Enterprise (CA)
January 11, 2005

An independent panel of scientists has concluded that the rocket-fuel 
chemical perchlorate is not as hazardous as federal regulators have feared.

But the scientists, in a report released Monday, recommended a health 
limit that is far below the level proposed by the perchlorate industry 
and its best customer, the Department of Defense.

The recommendation by the National Academy of Sciences panel is expected
 to guide efforts to set health standards for perchlorate in water and 
food as well as environmental clean-up requirements. Perchlorate has 
contaminated the Colorado River and several Inland groundwater basins.

California science officials and some environmentalists were generally 
content with the report's conclusions, saying the scientific panel's 
recommendation is still close to health limits proposed by state and 
federal scientists. 


For the entire article, see


Panel: Perchlorate Less Risky Than Feared 

National Public Radio Health News Briefs
Jon Hamilton
January 11, 2005 ·

Scientific advisers to the government say the chemical perchlorate may
be less dangerous than feared. 

Perchlorate is found in rocket fuel and has been found in drinking water
supplies in more than 35 states. 

About two years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency issued a draft
report saying drinking water should contain no more than 1 part per
billion of perchlorate. That assessment was controversial, in part
because it was based largely on studies of rats. 


For the entire story, see


Yuma lettuce growers can breathe easier

January 11, 2005

A panel of scientists concluded Monday that perchlorate, a contaminant
found in the Colorado River and in lettuce grown from it, is safe for
consumption at levels much greater than the standard being considered by
the Environmental Protection Agency.

In a report expected to influence a final EPA regulation on the
chemical, the National Academy of Sciences recommended allowing a level
roughly equal to 20 parts per billion in drinking water. Two years ago,
EPA issued a preliminary recommendation of 1 part per billion.

"In my opinion the NAS rate seems reasonable, based on clinical studies
and further collaborated by ecological and varying epidemiological
(natural exposure) studies," said Charles Sanchez, a University of
Arizona scientist at the Yuma Agricultural Center, who has been studying
perchlorate levels in crops produced here and around the country.

Furthermore, he added, the NAS leaves room for modification as studies continue.


For the entire article, see


Study Disagrees With EPA on Perchlorate

Scientists' report says it poses a health risk but not at doses as low
as the agency had calculated.

By Marla Cone and Lisa Getter
Los Angeles Times 
January 11, 2005

In a long-awaited report, a national panel of scientists wrote Monday
that perchlorate, an ingredient of solid rocket fuel that has
contaminated drinking water and food throughout the country, poses a
public health risk at low doses but not at amounts as low as the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency had calculated.

The chemical, used primarily by the military, NASA and their
contractors, has seeped into hundreds of wells in Southern California
and contaminated Colorado River water used for drinking and for
irrigating crops in the region.

The scientific controversy over what level of the chemical is safe for
human consumption pits the Pentagon against environmentalists and drew
the attention of top-level White House officials. Environmental groups
Monday accused the White House and Pentagon of influencing the panel's findings.

The National Research Council panel, led by Richard B. Johnston Jr. of
the University of Colorado's School of Medicine in Denver, concluded
that perchlorate posed a health threat because it can interfere with the
human thyroid gland, which controls how the brain develops in infancy.


For the entire article, see


Perchlorate in water less of a threat, panel claims
Rocket fuel trace level study draws dissent 

By Tom Pelton
Baltimore Sun 
January 11, 2005

Drinking water tainted by an ingredient in rocket fuel and explosives is
less dangerous than previously thought, and the chemical might not cause
brain damage in babies or thyroid illnesses at trace levels, according
to a report yesterday by the National Academy of Sciences.

The report said that perchlorate, which has polluted municipal water
supplies in Maryland, California and dozens of other states, might be
safe at levels at about 20 times the amount suggested by the
Environmental Protection Agency in 2002.

The conclusion - if accepted by the EPA and states - could mean a
savings of tens of millions of dollars in cleanup costs for defense
contractors such as Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp., which has been
sued in California for dumping the chemical onto the ground near missile
testing sites.

An environmental advocacy group, the Natural Resources Defense Council,
charged yesterday that the White House and Pentagon had lobbied behind
the scenes to convince the scientific panel to downplay the risks of the chemical.


For the entire article, see


Experts duel over perchlorate issue 
Environmentalists, government spar on standards
By Gary Scott 
Pasadena Star-News
January 10, 2005

PASADENA -- An environmental group Monday called on the state Department
of Health Services to lower the level of perchlorate allowed in drinking
water, even as a national board of scientists concluded the chemical is
safe for consumption at three times the state's standard. 

A 34-page report from the Environmental California Research and Policy
Center said perchlorate concentrations of more than one part per billion
put children's health at risk. 

"Kids and rocket fuel don't mix," said Sujatha Jahagirdar, an author of
the report. "State officials should act aggressively to protect
California's most vulnerable citizens from this contamination.' 

Meanwhile, the National Academies of Sciences issued a study on Monday
that finds perchlorate is safe at a level roughly equal to 20 parts per

The competing views are nothing new in the debate over perchlorate, a
toxic chemical used in rocket fuel, dynamite and road flares. The
contaminant has been found in more than 350 wells in California,
including 10 in Pasadena alone. 


For the entire article, see


Pollutant said safer than thought
Panel report on perchlorate at odds with EPA findings

San Bernardino County Sun (CA)
January 10, 2005

A water pollutant also found in some produce and milk is not as
dangerous as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency determined in a
preliminary risk assessment two years ago, a panel of scientists
announced Monday.

The National Academy of Sciences concluded that daily perchlorate intake
at levels 20 times higher than those posed by the EPA is safe even for
sensitive populations, such as fetuses and pregnant women.

The Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, denounced
the panel's report and claimed the White House, Pentagon and defense
industry strong-armed scientists to downplay the chemical's hazards.

Academy officials brushed off the defense council's accusations as
unfounded and said the recommendations were based on the best scientific
research available, including some funded by perchlorate-linked businesses.


For the entire article, see


Dangers of Rocket Fuel Chemical Downplayed 

By Rob Stein
Washington Post 
January 11, 2005 

A chemical from rocket fuel that has seeped into drinking-water supplies
nationwide is safe at higher doses than federal environmental officials
had concluded, according to a report released yesterday.

The chemical, perchlorate, can be ingested safely at doses more than 20
times those deemed safe by the Environmental Protection Agency, an
expert panel convened by the National Academy of Sciences concluded.

The conclusion was praised by defense contractors facing potentially
billions of dollars in cleanup costs but denounced by environmental
activists, who accused the Defense Department, defense industry and
White House of exerting undue influence on the panel.

The assessment is considered crucial for the EPA, which is establishing
the first national standards for the pollutant, and for dozens of states
that have been setting their own standards for cleaning up military and
industrial sites to try to safeguard drinking water.


For the entire article, see


Water safety findings clash

A scientific panel's acceptable level of rocket fuel is 20 times what
the EPA urges.

By Chris Bowman 
Sacramento Bee (CA)
January 11, 2005

Get weekday updates of Sacramento Bee headlines and breaking news. Sign
up here.
An independent panel of distinguished scientists concluded Monday that a
rocket-fuel chemical pervasive in California's drinking water supplies
is safe to consume at levels 20 times greater than the dose proposed by
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The National Academy of Sciences committee criticized EPA scientists for
relying more on studies of laboratory rats than actual human exposures
in evaluating people's health risk from exposure to the chemical, perchlorate.


For the entire article, see


Panel lessens toxin's hazard


By Paul Rogers
San Jose Mercury News (CA)
January 11, 2005

Perchlorate, a toxic chemical used in rocket fuel and flares that has
contaminated groundwater in California and other states, is safe to
consume at levels 20 times higher than what the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has recommended, an expert panel concluded Monday.

The long-awaited report from a panel of 15 doctors, scientists and other
experts assembled by the National Academy of Sciences in Washington,
D.C., is expected to influence the EPA as it works toward setting a
final national cleanup standard.

Some environmentalists said the finding places public health at risk and
might have been affected by pressure from the White House and defense
contractors, a charge the National Academy denied. Perchlorate has been
linked to thyroid disorders.

In Silicon Valley, however, where a 10-mile-long underground plume of
perchlorate from a former road flare factory stretches from Morgan Hill
to Gilroy, the report should have no effect on cleanup efforts,
according to the Santa Clara Valley Water District.


For the entire article, see


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918
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