Tuesday, January 11, 2005

U.S. Tried to Suppress Pollutant Study, Group Says

This is totally un-called for. Individual who are on the job shall understand that there is a cause & effects in everything that one do.

As a human, one should be aware that beside the individual health is main concern, but one also must have the virtue & love to the others. In the case of Perchlorate, which is harmful to our people, one also need to have the sense of responsibilities to ensure that drinking water must be safe to the people who contribute to the existence. & the Geat Health of their friends & foes on this earth.

U.S. Tried to Suppress Pollutant Study, Group Says

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new report from the National Academy of Sciences raises by 20 times the amount of rocket fuel pollution in drinking water considered "safe," but environmentalists on Monday accused the government of influencing the report's findings.

The environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council challenged the report even before it was issued, saying the authors had been influenced by the Pentagon and defense contractors and it had evidence to prove it.

The pollutant from rocket fuel, a chemical called perchlorate, can affect thyroid function. There are no federal limits on how much is safe but independent groups have said the chemical could affect developing babies.

The Academy's National Research Council, which advises the government on scientific and environmental matters, was asked by the Department of Defense, NASA and other agencies to review evidence that perchlorate in drinking water or food crops was harmful and if so, how much was safe.

Its report says people could drink up to up to 0.0007 milligrams per kilogram of body weight without harming even the most sensitive populations -- about 20 times more than the 'reference dose' proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection.

"The most recent EPA risk assessment, published in 2002, proposes a daily reference dose of 0.00003 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, which the agency said would correspond to a drinking-water concentration of 1 part per billion based on certain assumptions about body weight and daily water consumption," the Academy noted.

It also said that although there is clear evidence the chemical can dampen thyroid function, leading to a serious condition called hypothyroidism, there was not enough evidence to show it could lead to thyroid cancer, as the EPA has suggested.

"Scientists at the EPA, in state agencies, and in academia have all concluded that very low levels of perchlorate threaten the health of babies," said NRDC scientist Jennifer Sass. "Scientists should not be strong-armed by unqualified, partisan bureaucrats and corporate polluters to skew the evidence."

The NRDC said federal agencies had tried to influence the report's conclusions and published documents that it said showed just how extensive the government's attempts were.

"The Defense Department's job is to protect Americans, not threaten our health, but these documents show that it is conspiring with its contractors and the White House to twist the science and avoid cleaning up a chemical that threatens our children's health," said NRDC lawyer Erik Olson.

"We've never seen such a brazen campaign to pressure the National Academy of Sciences to downplay the hazards of a chemical, but it fits the pattern of this administration manipulating science at the expense of public health," the NRDC said.

White House and EPA officials were not available for comment. Read More....

Science News Article | Reuters.com

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