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USEPA May Regulate Strontium in Drinking Water

USEPAThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) published a preliminary regulatory determination from the third contaminant candidate list (CCL3) and may begin regulating strontium in the nation's drinking water as soon as next year.

Strontium has been detected in 99 percent of public water systems and at levels of concern in seven percent of public water systems in the country. USEPA says at elevated levels strontium can impact bone strength in people who do not consume enough calcium. The naturally occurring element replaces calcium in bones which affects skeletal development. The effects of strontium on infants, children, and adolescents are of particular concern to the USEPA as those age groups have bones that are still developing.

The USEPA intends to reduce the current strontium health reference level (HRL) from 4.2 mg/L to 1.5 mg/L, which could significantly expand the number of impacted systems, based on monitored results from the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR3) program.

The Safe Drinking Water Act requires USEPA to develop a contaminant candidate list every five years and make a regulatory determination for at least five of the potential candidates on the list. The four other contaminants reviewed by USEPA - dimethoate, 1,3-dinitrobenzene, terbufos, and terbufos sulfone - are reportedly found at low levels of occurrence or not at all in public water systems. Therefore, USEPA determined no regulation is required for them at this time.

The 60-day public comment period for the USEPA's intial regulatory determinations regarding strontium, dimethoate, 1,3-dinitrobenzene, terbufos, and terbufos sulfone closes on December 19, 2014. To log a comment with the Federal Register, click here. After the comment period closes, USEPA will determine whether to move forward with the rulemaking process for strontium. A final regulatory determination could be released as soon as 2015.


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