Military contractors, for example, said that regulations on perchlorate, which has been associated with stunted central nervous system development, would cost them billions of dollars in cleanup costs. In 2003, an Air Force colonel, Daniel Rogers, called an E.P.A. assessment of the chemical “biased, unrealistic and scientifically imbalanced.” Military officials told E.P.A. scientists they were unpatriotic for suggesting that bases were contaminated, according to people who participated in those discussions.
Property owners who had rented space to dry cleaners lobbied lawmakers and top E.P.A. officials to remove government scientists from research on perc, which has been associated with some kinds of tumors, according to interviews with lobbyists. (Trichloroethylene has been associated with liver and kidney damage and cancer.)
Soon, Dr. Preuss was told by some superiors that he might be dismissed if he continued pushing for extensive assessments of certain chemicals, he said. ... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17water.html?_r=1&em=&pagewanted=all
But not one chemical has been added to the list of those regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act since 2000.
Other recent studies have found that even some chemicals regulated by that law pose risks at much smaller concentrations than previously known. However, many of the act’s standards for those chemicals have not been updated since the 1980s, and some remain essentially unchanged since the law was passed in 1974.
A Department of Defense official, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivities regarding perchlorate, said the military’s perspective on the chemical had changed since 2005, and it now deferred to the E.P.A.’s assessments. Colonel Rogers did not reply to e-mail messages and calls seeking comment.
“We need action,” said Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat and chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, which oversees the Safe Drinking Water Act. “E.P.A. has the authority to set new standards, but it wasn’t used over the last eight years. There are people at risk.” ... http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/17/us/17water.html?_r=1&em=&pagewanted=all