Mike Rogge

CMTA sues OEHHA over perchlorate PHG

By Mike Rogge

Capitol Update, Aug. 5, 2015 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

On June 29th, the California Manufacturers & Technology Association filed suit against California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) in Sacramento Superior Court challenging OEHHA’s February 27th decision to lower the state’s public health goal (PHG) for perchlorate in drinking water from six parts per billion (ppb) to one.

CMTA’s president, Dorothy Rothrock, issued a statement asserting that CMTA is seeking judicial intervention, to hold OEHHA legally accountable for its failure to satisfy basic statutory requirements in lowering the PHG. She stated that,

“OEHHA has failed to provide any scientific evidence to show that the state’s perchlorate PHG needs to be reduced from the current, highly conservative level, of 6ppb to 1ppb. The new PHG is not based on the best available science and in fact ignores several pertinent studies that show the current PHG protects all Californians.

This new unsubstantiated rule creates new impediments to reliable water suppliers for manufacturers, creates immediate costs for some particular industries and creates a dangerous precedent for our regulatory process.”

PHGs are established by OEHHA strictly on the basis of protecting public health. It is then up to the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to actually set the drinking water standard as close to the PHG as is economically and technologically possible. This will be the first maximum contaminant level set by SWRCB. Previously, the responsibility for all drinking water programs were handled by the Department of Public Health.

Perchlorate can occur naturally in the environment, but may also be released by rocket fuel, various industrial processes and fireworks. It is known to interfere with the thyroid glands ability to process iodide, an essential nutrient for brain development and heart function.

CMTA maintains that OEHHA’s action was in violation of more than a dozen requirements of the California Safe Drinking Water Act in the Health & Safety Code. In addition, a conflict of interest was noted because the author of several studies utilized by OEHHA to set the new standard was also used to validate their work. CMTA is asking the court to order OEHHA to withdraw the revised PHG for perchlorate and to identify a new revised PHG in compliance with legal requirements.

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