In news sure to attract the attention of rocket builders, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Feb. 2 it will develop regulations to limit the amount of perchlorate found in drinking water. The chemical, a common ingredient in solid-rocket motor propellant, has been linked to human health risks
As the New York Times reports in its Green blog, the EPA’s announcement reverses a 2008 finding by the Bush Administration “that a nationwide standard for the chemical was unnecessary and would do little to reduce risks to human health.”
“Perchlorate can occur naturally, but high concentrations have been found near military installations where it was used in the testing of rockets and missiles. Health researchers have found that it may impair the normal functioning of the thyroid, potentially stunting normal growth of fetuses, infants and children.
“The military and defense contractors who use the chemical have balked at tighter regulation, saying that substitutes are more expensive. But officials of municipal water services have been calling for years for tighter rules on perchlorate and a number of other carcinogenic chemicals, including a number of substances used in dry cleaning.”