Former U.S. EPA Official Casts Doubt on Public Health Benefits of a National Perchlorate Regulation in Drinking Water

March 4, 2015 – The Perchlorate Information Bureau (PIB) agrees with the recommendation of Dr. Joseph Cotruvo in a recent commentary he authored in Water Technology about the decision by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate perchlorate in drinking water. In the article, Dr. Cotruvo casts doubt on whether the health benefits of a national regulation for perchlorate in drinking water would outweigh potential costs.

“It is doubtful whether a national regulation for perchlorate in drinking water would provide significant measurable benefits versus the costs of compliance,” writes Cotruvo, a former director of the U.S. EPA Drinking Water Standards Division. “It would probably be more beneficial and less costly if programs were initiated assuring pregnant women received sufficient iodine supplementation, as well as examining opportunities for increasing iodine dietary consumption for the general population.”

This commentary from a former US EPA official builds on another recent study concluding that the economic benefits of reducing perchlorate concentrations in drinking water are likely to be low (less than $2.9 million annually), compared to the estimated national cost of compliance with a drinking water standard of $120 million per year.

The conclusions of Dr. Cotruvo underscore the fact that implementing unnecessary and misguided perchlorate standards will place staggering costs on taxpayers; industry; agriculture; and local, state and federal governments – while providing no meaningful health benefits. PIB encourages officials at US EPA to reconsider the 2011 decision to regulate perchlorate under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, given the increasing number of voices who have looked at the science and concluded there is no public health benefit in additional federal regulation of perchlorate.