Today's announcement by EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson that EPA will move toward regulating perchlorate, reversing a decision by the George W. Bush Administration, is bittersweet. It’s great that EPA has recognized the need to regulate, but the agency has adopted such a leisurely timeline that the entire effort could end up being undercut.
The agency said: "EPA intends to publish the proposed regulation and analyses for public review and comment within 24 months. EPA will consider the public comments and expects to promulgate a final regulation within 18 months of the proposal."
The Bush Administration had shut down EPA efforts to deal with this hazard, despite ample evidence of the danger. So it's obviously welcome news that the Obama EPA has made confronting the problem its official policy. But today's announcement is quite limited. EPA is actually saying that a regulation wouldn't be finalized until after 2012, and that gives scant comfort.
I can find no excuse for the long trajectory of behind-the-scenes consultations and hand-wringing that sets the stage for such long delay on this crucial issue.
Regulating perchlorate should not be seen as a long-term, we’ll-get-around-to-it goal, but an urgent public health priority. Perchlorate inhibits the uptake of iodide into the thyroid, causing the malfunction of the endocrine system that modulates normal neurological development. Babies in utero don’t have any iodide in their system, and must get it from their mothers. If their mothers also have iodide deficiencies, ...