As California’s former Secretary for Environmental Protection and former chief law enforcement officer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, I share the public demand that the facts about perchlorate become available and accessible to as many people as possible.
It is absolutely essential that regulatory agencies have access to the best possible scientific information on which to base critical decisions. To do otherwise would risk creating a drinking water standard for perchlorate that fails to provide public health benefit while imposing staggering costs—not only unnecessarily burdening taxpayers and ratepayers, but also diverting resources from other important needs. This is important everywhere, and nowhere more than in California, where we are struggling to maintain services during a historic budgetary crisis.
In the midst of these challenges, there is very good news. The National Academy of Sciences (NAS), recognizing the importance of this issue nationally, has convened a panel of experts to review the science. This affords state governments the opportunity to obtain and apply the best available scientific information in setting regulatory standards. Given California’s longstanding commitment to environmental leadership, the timing could not be better.
The NAS will have a large body of credible research on perchlorate from which to draw, going back half a century, when perchlorate was in widespread use as a medication to treat thyroid problems. You will see on the Web site www.councilonwaterquality.org, credible scientific studies have found no adverse effects on human health from low levels of perchlorate.
Just as the NAS is a unique forum to bring together science in neutral, respected forum, the Council on Water Quality Web site aims to become a reliable source of information on perchlorate.