Thursday, September 25, 2008

EPA to regulate rocket fuel in drinking water? No way.

First of all, Pound360 just has to ask, why isn't the EPA an independent agency? So long as they're part of the executive branch (it's not a Cabinet-level agency, but the President appoints the organization's top administrator), damn near everything they do is going to be controversial.

The latest controversy surrounds perchlorate (a jet fuel additive) in drinking water. According to
a report at CNN, enough perchlorate was detected at 395 sites in 35 states to "interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses." Despite that, the EPA claims a mandated cleanup would not present a "meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction."

Notice they don't say a cleanup would not reduce health risk. Instead, they say a cleanup would not produce a "meaningful" decrease in health risk. In other words, the cost of a cleanup would be more expensive than the cost of treating people with problems linked to perchlorate, or the cost in human lives (
remember from earlier this year, the EPA values human lives at $6.9 million dollars each).

Could there be more than a simple cost-benefit analysis at play here? Some believe political pressure is being applied since the Pentagon could be held liable for the cleanup. From CNN: "The Defense Department used perchlorate for decades in testing missiles and rockets, and most perchlorate contamination is the result of defense and aerospace activities."

Again, Pound360 says let's pull the EPA out of the Executive Branch so there's some distance between politics and our environment.

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I started pound360 to channel my obsession with vitamins, running and the five senses. Eventually, I got bored focusing on all that stuff, so I came back from a one month hiatus in May of 2007 (one year after launching Pound360) and broadened my mumblings here to include all science.