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Daily News Archive
From September 13, 2001

National Academy of Sciences Supports Tougher Arsenic Limits in Drinking Water

According to the Daily Grist, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) has found that the standard for arsenic levels in drinking water should be at least as tough as the one set by the Clinton administration and then suspended by the Bush administration. Former President Clinton ordered the level to be no higher than 10 parts per billion (ppb) by 2006, the same standard set by the World Health Organization and many European countries. George W. Bush cast aside the standard in March.

The NAS report concludes, however, that even at 3 ppb, the risk of bladder and lung cancer from arsenic is between four and 10 deaths per 10,000 people; the U.S. EPA's maximum acceptable level of risk for the past two decades for drinking water contaminants has been one death in 10,000. Officials said that EPA head Christie Todd Whitman would now go with a standard at least as stringent as Clinton's.

On July 27, 2001, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed and voted to block the administration's effort to delay and weaken the standard for arsenic in drinking water. On a 218 to 189 vote, the Members approved an amendment to prevent the EPA from spending funds to weaken arsenic standards.

To read the entire article, visit the Washington Post online at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A6816-2001Sep10.html.