The Trump EPA calculated recommended limits of a dangerous chemical sometimes found in drinking water that can harm babies’ brain development that were more than 9 times higher than those imposed by a few states by fudging a key number in the calculation.
The Trump recommended a limit for perchlorate, which can harm infant brain development, of 56 micrograms per liter, far above the limit of 6 that California imposed and 2 that Massachusetts set, more than a decade ago.
“I guess they think it’s just fine to have children have IQ loss,” said Betsy Southerland, a retired EPA official who oversaw science and technology issues in the EPA Office of Water.
Perchlorate, which a GAO study found in the water, soil or sediment of 45 states, is particularly dangerous to babies because it can harm infant brain development if their mothers are exposed to it in food or water while pregnant. Babies can also ingest perchlorate in their mothers’ breast milk or in formula.
Scientists account for uncertainty in calculating such limits with what is known as the “uncertainty factor” to protect the most vulnerable such as infants. Our nation’s public health agency, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention used a factor of 10 for perchlorate. The Trump EPA cut that by 2/3s to 3.
EPA spokesman Ken Labbe did not have a response for DCReport.org about how the limits were calculated.
Massachusetts virtually eliminated perchlorate from its public drinking water supply with its limit. Testing between 2001 and 2003 found perchlorate levels of 4 micrograms per liter or higher in water systems nationwide serving more than 16.6 million people. Bleach, which water systems use to disinfect water, can degrade into perchlorate. The chemical is also in rocket fuel.
Tell EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler your thoughts on regulating perchlorate. Call Wheeler at 202-564-4700 or write to him at EPA Headquarters / William Jefferson Clinton Building / 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW / Mail Code: 1101A / Washington, D.C. 20460.
The American Water Works Association, which has urged that perchlorate not be regulated, paid for a study that found faults with a more rigorous model that the Obama administration would have used to set limits for perchlorate. The Trump EPA cited that study in recommending the laxer limits.
Neltner said the Trump EPA cherry-picked which studies to use in setting the recommended limit. The Environmental Defense Fund had recommended a limit of 4 micrograms per liter.
“You really get one chance to build a brain,” Neltner said.
The Trump EPA could also impose limits of 18 micrograms or 90 micrograms per liter or decide against regulating perchlorate. The federal advisory limit is 15 micrograms. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler will have the final say.
The proposed regulation is the first new standard the EPA is putting forward for an unregulated contaminant in drinking water in more than 23 years.
Cleaning up perchlorate contamination can cost millions. The EPA reached a $1.1 billion settlement in 2014 to clean up a former chemical manufacturing site in Henderson, Nev. The chemical contaminated Lake Mead.
Inside the radical Republican war on the Post Office
In the weeks ahead America’s daily mail delivery may come to a complete halt because the U.S. Postal Service is running out of cash—though Donald Trump may take last-minute action so he can proclaim himself the hero who saved the post office.
But the real story here is one of Congressional neglect, Republican animosity and the craziest pension plan funding scheme ever devised by human beings. Throw in an illegal strike by fed up postal workers a half-century ago, laws tightly restricting what the United States Postal Service may do and the rise of private carriers like FedEx and UPS that deliver only to profitable locations, and you have a manufactured disaster just waiting to be exploited for political gain.
A secret killer lurks behind the pandemic — and could lead to an additional 75,000 American deaths
As more than 100,000 people have died of Covid-19 in the United States, and 40 million will have lost their jobs, there is another looming crisis that may eclipse these losses: a national mental health trauma.
The necessity for implementing social distancing, in large part because of the failure to test, trace, and isolate contacts properly in the early stages, a pandemic that has gotten out of hand is not just causing an economic recession but a “social recession.” We hear of domestic violence and problems of depression and anxiety every day, while isolation and sheltering in place become risk factors for substance abuse, suicide, and even homicide.
The numbers are in — and the rich are making out like bandits during this pandemic
Tens of millions of Americans are cashless, many desperate to feed their children. Meanwhile the richest Americans merrily float on a rapidly rising tide of money thanks mainly to Trump & Co.
My analysis of Federal Reserve data shows a record flow of greenbacks let the corporate rich pour trillions of dollars into their accounts as they fired tens of millions.
Now that money just sits, idle.
How can it be that as want ravages cash-starved Americans, money wealth rises for the already rich like the tide rushing into the Bay of Fundy?