The Environmental Protection Agency is tightening drinking water standards to impose stricter limits on four contaminants that can cause cancer. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson says her agency is developing stricter regulations for four chemical compounds: tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, acrylamide and epichlorohydrin. All four compounds can cause cancer. Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, and tetrachloroethylene are used as industrial solvents and can seep into drinking water from contaminated groundwater or surface water. The other two compounds are impurities that can be introduced into drinking water during the water treatment process.
Ms. Jackson said the EPA will issue new rules on TCE and tetrachloroethylene within the next year. Rules for the other two compounds will follow. She announced a new strategy to better protect public health from contaminants in drinking water. With budgets strained and new threats emerging, the EPA, states and utilities must foster innovation that can increase cost-effective measures to protect drinking water.
Exposure to high concentrations of the chemical can cause nervous system problems, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma and death, according to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is identifying and cleaning up dozens of former nuclear missile sites in nine states. The missile sites include 14 in Kansas, ten in Nebraska, seven in Wyoming, seven in Colorado and two in Oklahoma. California, New Mexico, New York and Texas have one contaminated site each.
Source: Associated Press
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