Today, the Environmental Protection Agency‘s administrator, Lisa Jackson, will ask a Senate panel to set a limit for perchlorate in drinking water. Perchlorate is both naturally-occurring and man-made, and is used to produce rocket fuel, pyrotechnics and explosives. Despite the chemical being linked to thyroid problems in young children and pregnant women, perchlorate is not yet regulated by the EPA.
Tap water monitoring in 2001, 2003 and 2005 showed that the water of 26 states contained the rocket fuel chemical. The EPA’s decision to regulate perchlorate actually reverses a 2008 decision in which they decided not to regulate the chemical. Now, further research by independent scientists and the National Academy of Sciences has led the agency to campaign for perchlorate regulation. This decision does not mean that perchlorate will be regulated by water utilities or public water systems nationwide; rather, now that perchlorate has been listed as a regulated contaminant in the Safe Drinking Water Act, the agency must issue a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation. Once that is finalized, many public water systems will have to comply with the regulation. It could take as many as two years to see full compliance of perchlorate regulation.
Perchlorate may impair the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones that are critical to developing infants and fetuses. According to the EPA’s press release on perchlorate, between 5-17 million people may be drinking water contaminated with perchlorate. For more information about the chemical, visit the EPA’s perchlorate page.
To ensure your family is safe from the dangers of perchlorate in drinking water, you may consider installing a reverse osmosis system to reduce perchlorate and other contaminants in your water. What a reverse osmosis system removes is dependent on the type of RO membrane used. Filters Fast currently carries four membranes that will reduce perchlorate. Please contact us to see if you can use one of these membranes in your existing RO system: firstname.lastname@example.org; 1-866-438-3458.
UPDATE: According to the EPA website, they are currently developing a proposed national primary drinking water regulation for perchlorate to be reviewed publicly in 2013.