2005 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 22 Feb 2005 18:35:53 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Perchlorate "translation" draws criticism
Health: EPA's Ruling  On Perchlorate  Draws Criticism

By Peter Waldman
The Wall Street Journal 
February 22, 2005

The Environmental Protection Agency, in a policy decision that may save
the Pentagon and defense industry billions of dollars in cleanup costs,
adopted a weakened version of the National Academy of Sciences'
recommended "safe dose" for perchlorate exposure. 

In response, some scientists, environmentalists and members of Congress
who are worried that the water contaminant poses a risk to infant-brain
development, accused the Bush administration of meddling with the
science to help the suspected polluters. 

Perchlorate, a main ingredient in solid-rocket fuel and other weapons
systems, was discharged into soil and streams by the military and its
suppliers throughout the Cold War, and has turned up in water supplies
in 35 states. 

The current controversy concerns the EPA's adoption of a so-called
reference dose for perchlorate, or the daily exposure level for the
chemical deemed safe for the most sensitive subpopulations over a
lifetime. This is the first step toward the possible setting of a legal
water standard for perchlorate. 

On Friday, the EPA announced it is officially adopting the reference
dose recommended last month by a panel of the National Academy of
Sciences' National Research Council, which said adults can safely
consume an equivalent of 24 parts per billion of perchlorate in drinking
water. In 2002 the EPA proposed its own reference dose for perchlorate
of one part per billion, which the agency says it is now discarding. 

But in an unusual ripple, the EPA, in translating the NRC's reference
dose into a drinking-water limit, said it wasn't following the guidance
for how to apply the panel's reference dose that was issued by the NRC
panel's chairman, Richard Johnston of the University of Colorado. Dr.
Johnston, in public comments last month and again in an interview
Friday, stated that in order to translate the NRC reference dose into a
drinking-water limit, it is necessary to adjust the NRC dose for an
individual's body weight and water-consumption level -- in the same way
dosages of medicines are routinely adjusted for particular patients'


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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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