The Environmental Protection Agency under the Trump administration is trying to triple the level of rocket fuel chemicals allowed in “safe” drinking water supplies. According to ThinkProgress, this marks the first new EPA drinking water change since George W. Bush’s presidency.
The agency expressed its latest endeavor to weaken protections to the environment and public health on Thursday, seeking public comment on its proposal to raise the threshold for the chemical perchlorate, which is correlated to thyroid issues, from 15 micrograms to 56 micrograms per liter.
While the previous threshold was just a guideline for states, the agency’s new proposal is an enforceable limit.
The EPA is also asking experts and the public for three other alternatives: a limit of 18 micrograms per liter, of 90 micrograms per liter, or simply no limit for the chemical found in rocket fuel altogether.
“The news comes after a decade-long delay following a lawsuit by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) demanding the EPA set an enforceable standard for the chemical,” the news site reports.
Senior health and food director at NRDC Erik Olson called the EPA’s deliberation “enough to make you sick—literally.”
"As a result, millions of Americans will be at risk of exposure to dangerous levels of this toxic chemical in their drinking water.”
Perchlorate is found in rocket fuel, fireworks, airbags, signal flares, matches, and munitions.Exposure to the chemical can cause disruption to the thyroid, particularly in regards to hormones needed for normal development and growth.
The NRDC says that experts recommend limits that are “10 to more than 50 times lower” than the EPA’s latest proposal. Only two states have more enforceable and strict standards than those outlined by the EPA. California has a maximum of 6 micrograms per liter, and Massachusetts a limit of 2 micrograms per liter.