EPA sells public health with rocket fuel in drinking water- NJ needs to move forward
EPA has proposed a standard for a compound called perchlorate, placing the maximum contaminant level at 56 parts per billion (ppb). Trump’s EPA safe level standard is almost 5 times a high as the Obama EPA safe level proposal for the compound. Perchlorate is used by the military and is commonly found in solid rocket propellants, fireworks, matches, and signal flares.
“EPA sided with polluters over public health. The Trump Administration is risking our clean drinking water with their new standard for perchlorate. EPA’s safe level standard is 10 to 50 times higher than what should be. New Jersey was moving forward with a strong standard but was blocked under the Christie Administration. The DEP needs to adopt a strict standard now. This compound is found all over New Jersey and can cause serious health concerns that will not only disrupt growth development but can cause cancer,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “The failure by the EPA to protect our environment and clean drinking water from perchlorate is shameful. It is critical for the DEP adopt stricter standards that protect the people of New Jersey, the longer they wait, the more people they are putting at risk.”
Some states have developed their own standard for the chemical in public drinking water. In Massachusetts the standard is 2 ppb, and in California it is 6 ppb. New Jersey has Ground Water Quality Standards for Perchlorate at 5ppb, but do not have Drinking Water Standards. In 2010, the DEP proposed a drinking water standard at 5ppb, but the rule failed to be finalized as a result of Governor Christie’s first Executive Order halting new regulations. have proposed rule for perchlorate, but it expired under the Christie Administration.
“In 2009, New Jersey proposed a drinking water standard for perchlorate at 5ppb that was based on reliable and sound science, however Christie froze it with EO 1 and killed it with EO2. That standard was one of the strictest in the country. We have been waiting for a decade for the DEP to adopt a new standard for perchlorate, but the Murphy Administration has not moved forward,” said Tittel. “Perchlorate is a chemical found in fertilizer and rocket fuel that has been identified in the drinking water supply and our food. It causes thyroid disorders in children and adults. Perchlorate is especially harmful to pregnant women and fetuses, leading to learning disabilities. In adults this slows down metabolic functions, with uncomfortable symptoms.”
Perchlorate can be widespread in ground water, soils and plants, and makes its way up the food chain accordingly, even into organically grown foods. Perchlorate in the environment is a health concern because it can disrupt the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones needed for normal growth and development. Besides its potential to cause endocrine system and reproductive problems, perchlorate is considered a “likely human carcinogen” by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
“New Jersey needs to adopt their own standards for perchlorate so that that people will not be drinking rocket fuel. EPA is going in the wrong direction, but New Jersey does not have to follow. Governor Murphy is moving forward with standards for PFOAs, he should set standards for perchlorate too. New Jersey needs to follow Massachusetts and California by setting its own strict standard for perchlorate.,” said Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. “DEP need to stand up ad adopt their own standards; we have been waiting for 10 years. More delay means more toxins getting into the drinking water and more toxins getting into the people of New Jersey.”