Title: Tighten Restrictions on Arsenic Levels in Water, Panel Says
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/WL00002206/00001
 Material Information
Title: Tighten Restrictions on Arsenic Levels in Water, Panel Says
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Publisher: Tampa Tribune
 Subjects
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Notes
Abstract: Tighten Restrictions on Arsenic Levels in Water, Panel Says, March 24, 1999
General Note: Box 10, Folder 9 ( SF Water Quality-Significant Numbers - 1990's ), Item 3
Funding: Digitized by the Legal Technology Institute in the Levin College of Law at the University of Florida.
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Bibliographic ID: WL00002206
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Holding Location: Levin College of Law, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

Full Text







Tighten restrictions on arsenic
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 24, 1999 THE TAMPA TRIBUNE O NATION/WORLD 1.


levels in water, panel says


AWauNiton Pot report
WASHINGTON The federal government
has greatly underestimated the risk posed
by arsenic in drinking water, allowing lev
els of the naturally occurring carcinogen
that put large numbers of Americans at
risk for bladder and lung cancer, a scien-
tific panel concluded Thesday. .
The National Research Council, an arm
of the National Academy of Sciences,
urged the government to tighten its con-
trols on arsenic "promptly," a move that


would bring the federal standards in line
with guidelines already adopted by inter-
national health organizations and recom-
mended by U.S. regulators 37 years ago.
The recommendation makes it virtually
certain that the Environmental Protection
Agency will significantly strengthen the
nation's 50-year-old guidelines for arsenic
in coming months, imposing new costs on
municipal water suppliers and possibly
complicating the cleanup of hazardous
waste sites.
"Is the current standard protective of


human health? The answer is: Not really,"
said Robert Goyer, the panel chairman and
a professor emeritus of pathology at the
University of Western Ontario. "ITere is a
high risk of some cancers, especially blad-
der cancer."
Arsenic occurs naturally in some soils
but is also a byproduct of certain types of
industrial mining and chemical produc-
tion. Acutely toxic at high levels, arsenic
has been shown in recent years to be a po-
tent carcinogen, based on studies of Asian
and Latin-American villages with large


amounts of the contaminant in water supa
plies.
Arsenic levels in the United States are
generally much lower, but at least 32 mil-
lon Americans, most of them in Western
states, consume water that contains signifi-
cant amounts of the chemical, according
to a 1995 EPA assessment.
The current limit for drinking water -
50 parts per billion -was setin 1942,
based on animal toxicity studies. In 1962,
the EPA's predecessor, the Public Health
Service, recommended a limit of 10 parts


per billion for interstate water suppliers,
the same standard later adopted by the
World Health Organization. But the official
U.S. policy remained unchanged for three
decades while government scientists de-
bated contradictory evidence over whether
relatively small amounts of arsenic are
harmful.
The EPA has not yet decided what the
new arsenic limit may be, but sources fa-
miliar with the agency's deliberations have
cited a range of 2 to 20 parts per billion.


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