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Morgan Hill
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October 16, 2021

Feds need to set water safety level for perchlorate

Perchlorate, which is plaguing hundreds of wells and thousands
of residents in South County, is not just a local problem. The
chemical, used in the manufacture of rocket fuel, road flares,
fireworks and automobile air bags, has been found in at least 18
states, according to some reports. In the California alone, at
least 7 million people are grappling with this issue that presents
many more questions than answers.
Perchlorate, which is plaguing hundreds of wells and thousands of residents in South County, is not just a local problem. The chemical, used in the manufacture of rocket fuel, road flares, fireworks and automobile air bags, has been found in at least 18 states, according to some reports. In the California alone, at least 7 million people are grappling with this issue that presents many more questions than answers.

That’s why the bill Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., is sponsoring is so important. Boxer’s bill would add perchlorate to the list of contaminants regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act and the speed the establishment of a federal standard for a maximum acceptable level of the chemical in water. The bill would require the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a that level by July 1, 2004, two years ahead of the EPA’s latest schedule.

An aide to Boxer said the senator believes this legislation is important because the EPA, which had been set to issue a maximum perchlorate level by the end of 2002, announced it wouldn’t be able to do so until 2006. Boxer’s bill sends an important message to EPA bureaucrats who have been dragging their feet: Perchlorate is an important issue and it needs to move up on the agency’s priority list.

California recently lowered the maximum permissible level from 18 parts per billion to 4 ppb. The EPA is said to be considering a much lower level of 1 ppb, while the Defense Department has advocated much higher levels, the Associated Press reports.

Perchlorate interferes with how the thyroid takes up iodide and disrupts the function of the gland. Unfortunately, its unclear how much perchlorate is too much, making establishment of federal standards an important step.

Federal leadership on this critical health and ecological issue is needed now. We urge readers to contact their United States Senators and Representatives to support Boxer’s perchlorate bill. The bill, which Boxer introduced on Monday, has not been assigned a number. Constituents can refer to “the Boxer perchlorate bill” and staffers will know which bill they are writing or calling about.

To contact Sen. Boxer, visit her Web site at www.boxer.senate.gov and click on “Contact Us” to send an e-mail message to her; send letters via U.S. Mail to 112 Hart Senate Building, Washington, D.C., 20510. Boxer’s Washington, D.C., office’s phone number is (202) 224-3553.

To contact California’s other senator, Democrat Dianne Feinstein, visit her Web site at www.feinstein.senate.gov and click on “Contact Me” to send an e-mail message to her; send letters via U.S. Mail to 331 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20510. Feinstein’s Washington, D.C., office’s phone number is (202) 224-3841.

To contact Morgan Hill’s congressman, Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, visit his Web site at www.house.gov/pombo and click on “Contact Me” to send an e-mail message to him; send letters via U.S. to 241 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515. His Washington, D.C., office’s phone number is (202) 225-1947.

To contact San Martin’s representative in the U.S. Congress, Zoe Logfren, D-San Jose, visit her Web site at www.house.gov/lofgren and click on the e-mail Zoe button at the bottom of the page; send letters via U.S. Mail to 102 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C., 20515. Her Washington, D.C., office’s phone number is (202) 225-3072.

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