The Environmental Protection Agency is changing drinking water standards to impose stricter limits on four specific contaminants which can cause cancer.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that the agency is developing stricter regulations for: tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, acrylamide and epichlorohydrin.
Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, and tetrachloroethylene are usually used as industrial solvents and can seep into drinking water from contaminated ground or surface water. The other two compounds are impurities which get introduced into drinking water during the water treatment process.
Jackson says that the EPA will issue new rules on TCE and tetrachloroethylene within the coming year. New rules for the other two compounds will follow.
Jackson called for more collaboration among states and the federal government, as well as development of new technologies to meet the needs of urban, rural and other water-stressed communities.
The new strategy would address contaminants as a group to better the efficiency; develop new technologies to address health risks from a vast array of contaminants; use a combination of state and federal laws to protect drinking water; and form partnerships with states.
TCE is an especially problematic chemical compound. It was used to clean nuclear missiles and was frequently dumped at missile sites. Exposure to high concentrations of this chemical causes nervous system problems, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma and death.