FAST FACTS: Issue #7

California Has Not Conducted a Thorough Cost-Benefit Analysis of the Proposed Perchlorate Standard

California’s Department of Health Services (DHS) has recommended a standard for perchlorate that is much lower than what credible, scientific data and research says is safe. From a scientific standpoint, DHS’ recommendation is unnecessarily low and therefore offers no public health benefit. From an economic standpoint, it could impose substantial and needless costs on Californians.

  • To date, California has not conducted a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the proposed perchlorate standard even though it is required to do so by law. The state has chosen only to look at the cost impacts on water purveyors. However, the law requires the state to also look at impacts on “other affected parties,” such as consumers, businesses and other stakeholders, to get a more accurate picture of the economic consequences.
  • A real-world example of this is the city of Fontana, which has filed a petition with the Public Utilities Commission for an 80 percent increase in water rates to offset perchlorate treatment costs.
  • According to La Donna White, president of the Capital Medical Society in Sacramento, California, “The result [of extremely restrictive risk assessment practices that result in very costly treatment and remediation activities] is the diversion of public and private dollars into unnecessary risk management efforts and away from more immediate, real…health-related programs.”