EPA to Regulate Rocket Fuel Chemical in Drinking Water

In a decisive move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that it will begin regulating perchlorate in drinking water sources. Backed by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson made the announcement today in front of a Senate panel. She cited a review by scientific experts of the chemical, which is used in the manufacture of rocket fuel, fireworks, and fertilizers.

"Clean water is critical to the health and prosperity of every American community and a fundamental concern to every American family," Jackson said in a statement. "Our decisions are based on extensive review of the best available science and the health needs of the American people."

In 2008, the Bush Administration concluded that perchlorate did not pose a significant health threat, causing EPA to seek advice from outside experts.

A review by independent researchers, public health experts, and the National Academy of Sciences concluded that the chemical did pose a significant health risk, citing evidence linking perchlorate to thyroid problems in children and pregnant women.

The Pentagon, which has questioned the science behind the recommendations in the past and may be liable for cleaning up perchlorate in the water, has yet to issue a statement.