In these troubled times, most people have accepted that our drinking water is less than pure. A few centuries of unbridled human industrial activity, and some schmutz is bound to get in there. But there's a vague confidence that the powers-that-be are working to keep the really dangerous stuff from coming out of your tap. You'd think rocket fuel- explosive, toxic rocket fuel- would be one of those things. The Environmental Protection Agency begs to differ.
Ammonium Perchlorate is a very toxic and highly volatile explosive used to blast things out of our atmosphere and into space. It is also frighteningly present in the USA's water supply. The chemical has been found in "395 sites in 35 states at levels high enough to interfere with thyroid function and pose developmental health risks, particularly for babies and fetuses".
And, here's what a factory full of Ammonium Perchlorate looks like when it explodes:
So, you'd think the government would be falling all over itself to get this out of their citizen's water. Nope. Today, the EPA announced they would not mandate a cleanup of the toxin. Said EPA spokesman Benjamin Grumbles (Best. Spokesman name. Ever):
"We know perchlorate in drinking water presents some degree of risk, and we're committed to working with states and scientists to ensure public health is protected and meaningful opportunities for reducing risk are fully considered."
Apparently, "removing the chemical from water" does not fall into the realm of "meaningful opportunities for reducing risk". Which is funny, because that would be #1 on my list.
So why the reluctance? Well, the primary user of perchlorate in the USA is the Pentagon. And if the EPA mandated a cleanup, then the government would be on the hook for a multi-billion dollar project. Not surprisingly, the government department with all the guns and missiles gets its way over the government department filled with powerless ninnies.
So, the next time your drinking water destroys your thyroid, deforms your children or just plain ol' explodes, thank the EPA.