Posted by: Steven M. Taber | August 5, 2009

EPA Seeks Comments on its Re-evaluation of the Chemical Perchlorate

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson announced on Wednesday, August 5, 2009, that the EPA is seeking public comment on its re-evaluation of the of the scientific information on perchlorate in drinking water. Perchlorate is both a naturally occurring and a man-made chemical.  Perchlorate is used in the manufacture of fireworks, flares and solid rocket propellant.  On October 10, 2008, the Bush Administration EPA made a preliminary decision not to regulate perchlorate73 Fed.Reg. 60262 (Oct. 10, 2008); see also, 73 Fed.Reg. 61857 (Oct. 17, 2008) (correcting docket number) and 73 Fed.Reg. 66895 (Nov. 12, 2008)(re-opening public comment period).

In the press release accompanying today’s announcement, Administrator Jackson directed EPA staff to review the October, 2008 decision focusing on an evaluation of the impact of perchlorate on infants and young children.  “It is critically important to protect sensitive populations, particularly infants and young children, from perchlorate in drinking water,”  Administrator Jackson stated in the press release.  “As we re-evaluate the science around perchlorate, we will seek public input before making a regulatory determination based on the best science.”

The press release stated that the

analysis presented in the notice announced today more directly evaluates children’s exposure to perchlorate.  This step takes into account the fact that infants and children consume more water per body weight than do adults.  EPA is now considering a broader range of alternatives for interpreting the available data on the level of health concern, the frequency of occurrence of perchlorate in drinking water, and the opportunity for health risk reduction through a national primary drinking water standard.  These alternative interpretation may impact the agency’s final regulatory determination for perchlorate.

This announcement follows EPA’s issuance in January, 2009, of an Interim Health Advisory for perchlorate to assist state and local officials in addressing local contamination of perchlorate in drinking water while the Agency evaluates the opportunity to reduce risks through a national primary drinking water standard.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Cal.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, in a statement released after the EPA’s announcement, backed the EPA:

Perchlorate, a toxic chemical contained in rocket fuel, does not belong in our drinking water, so I am very pleased to see the Obama administration taking the first steps toward protecting our families from this dangerous contaminant. The science has made clear that perchlorate can threaten the health of pregnant women and young children across the nation, and that is why I have consistently worked for strong safeguards to protect people from this toxic chemical.

Other reports:


  1. Drinking Water: Perchlorate Supplemental Request for Public Comments has been extended to October 8th, 2009

    SUMMARY: In an August 19, 2009, Federal Register notice, EPA announced that it was seeking comments on additional approaches to analyzing data related to the Agency’s preliminary regulatory determination for perchlorate. (Perchlorates are the salts derived from perchloric acid (HClO4). They occur both naturally and through manufacturing.) The additional comments are sought in an effort to ensure consideration of all the potential options for evaluating whether there is a meaningful opportunity for human health risk reduction of perchlorate through a national primary drinking water rule. In response to requests from several stakeholders, this action reopens the public comment period for an additional 15 days.

    DATES: EPA must receive your comments on or before October 8, 2009.

    ADDRESSES: Submit your comments, identified by Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OW-2009-0297, by one of the following methods:
    * Follow the on-line instructions for submitting comments.
    * Mail: Water Docket, Environmental Protection Agency, Mailcode: 2822T, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460.
    * Hand Delivery: Water Docket, EPA Docket Center (EPA/DC) EPA West, Room 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC. Such deliveries are only accepted during the Docket’s normal hours of operation, and special arrangements should be made for deliveries of boxed information.

    74 FR 48541 — Sep. 23, 2009 EPA source:

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