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Bush EPA Shirks Responsibility Over Perchlorate Contamination

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, January 9, 2009

WASHINGTON –- In a last-ditch effort to avoid regulating widespread perchlorate contamination of drinking water, the Bush Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling for yet another blue-ribbon study of the toxic rocket fuel component and widespread pollutant. While the work of the National Academy of Sciences is highly respected, the EPA leadership’s attempt to have NAS conduct a new review of perchlorate has to be seen as nothing more than an effort to dodge the issue and buy time for the defense, aerospace and chemical industries, which have been lobbying aggressively to avoid millions in perchlorate clean-up costs.

“We know enough about perchlorate’s thyroid-disrupting properties to understand that our government has to address this danger immediately,” said Dr. Anila Jacob, M.D., Senior Scientist with Environmental Working Group (EWG). “EPA has fought every call for a safety standard for perchlorate in drinking water, prompting Congress to introduce measures compelling the agency to do so. Now, with less than two weeks left in power, the Bush team has come up with a last-minute ploy – another study that will amount to a delaying action.”

“After being flooded with comments from scientists, state health officials, public health groups and even its own scientific advisors, the political leadership at EPA clearly realized that it couldn’t ignore the science forever,” added Renee Sharp, Director of the EWG office in California and an expert on the issue. “Instead of living up to its responsibility to protect public health, EPA officials want to use NAS for political cover.”

“The new Obama administration and the incoming EPA chief will have to spend full time cleaning up the mess this crew of cowards has left in its wake,” added Sharp.

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EWG is a nonprofit research organization based in Washington, DC that uses the power of information to protect human health and the environment.