Regulation of Perchlorate at Low Levels in Drinking Water: A High Stakes Decision

State regulation: California

California has set a state Public Health Goal (PHG) for perchlorate of 6 ppb. This accounted for exposure from water as well as from other sources, such as farm products, breast milk and cow's milk.

The California Department of Health Services (DHS) has already begun the process for adopting an enforceable drinking water standard (the MCL) for perchlorate. State law requires that the MCL be set as close to the PHG as is economically and technologically feasible, but does not require the state to investigate the science any further.

Currently, if the level of perchlorate in drinking water exceeds 6 ppb - the "Action Level" set by the DHS as a temporarily acceptable level pending adoption of the MCL - water system operators are required to notify local government agencies. The DHS also recommends that consumers be notified, and that the drinking water source be removed from service, if perchlorate is found at levels 10 times the Action Level. Some drinking water purveyors have already stopped serving drinking water that contains any amount of detectable perchlorate, thereby preventing all potential exposures while the MCL is pending.

To view the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment's response to comments about the PHG click here.

 

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