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Water rules pass federal hurdle

Posted: July 31, 2008 9:57 p.m.
Updated: October 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Two measures aimed at imposing federal standards for perchlorate in drinking water passed a key Senate committee, Sen. Barbara Boxer said Thursday.

“Perchlorate in drinking water threatens the most vulnerable among us — children and pregnant women,” Boxer said in a statement Thursday.

“Today the (Senate) Environment Committee has made real progress toward ensuring that children and families can turn on their taps and be assured that their water is safe to drink.”

California standards for perchlorate in drinking water are six micrograms per liter.

The chemical, commonly used in rocket fuel, contaminates 106 sites in California, including the nearly 1,000 acres of Whittaker-Bermite land located south of Saugus Speedway.

Groundwater wells near Whittaker-Bermite are tested for perchlorate regularly; several were capped when the contaminant was detected. The Santa Clarita Valley gets about 50 percent of its drinking water from wells.
A perchlorate-removal system can be seen on Bouquet Canyon Road just north of the bridge over the Santa Clara River.

The measures applauded Thursday by Boxer, D-Calif., include the Perchlorate Monitoring and Right to Know Act, which would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to test drinking water for perchlorate and disclose its findings; and the Protecting Pregnant Women and Children from Perchlorate Act, which would require the EPA to set a federal standard for perchlorate in drinking water.

Perchlorate and its salts are used in propellant for rockets, missiles, and fireworks, as well as in the production of matches, flares and explosives.

In humans, it interferes with iodide uptake by the thyroid gland and can decrease production of thyroid hormones, which are needed for prenatal and postnatal growth and development.


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