EPA to limit rocket fuel chemical in tap water

Associated Press / February 3, 2011

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WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is setting the first federal drinking water standard for a toxic rocket fuel ingredient linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women and young children, the Obama administration announced yesterday.

Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said that setting the standard will protect public health and spark new technologies to clean up drinking water.

Based on monitoring conducted from 2001 to 2005, 153 drinking water sources in 26 states contain perchlorate.

The standard could take up to two years to develop, the EPA said.

Perchlorate is also used in fireworks and explosives. In most cases, water contamination has been caused by improper disposal at rocket testing sites, military bases, and chemical plants.

Democrats, who have pushed for the EPA to regulate perchlorate, say the decision shows the administration is standing up for rules that protect public health, even if they burden business.

“It doesn’t take rocket science to keep rocket fuel out of our drinking water supply,’’ said Representative Edward Markey, a Malden Democrat. “It it just takes sound science, and I commend the administrator for taking this step.’’