The EPA has decided not to set limits for a component of rocket fuel that contaminates drinking water, according to an agency document reviewed by the AP. Perchlorate, linked to thyroid problems in pregnant women and babies, enters the water supply through improper disposal by rocket test sites and chemical plants. The EPA denied Pentagon pressure was behind the decision.
The EPA document states that setting clean-up levels for the contaminant would not result in a "meaningful opportunity for health-risk reduction." The chair of the Senate's environment committee slammed the decision. "This is a widespread contamination problem, and to see the Bush EPA just walk away is shocking," she said. In the absence of EPA action, Massachusetts and California have set their own safety levels for perchlorate.