- April 9 - The White House hasn't told Americans whether President Bush drinks the tap
water on his Crawford, Texas ranch. Drinking water in his county contains
40% more arsenic than would be allowed by safeguards set by the EPA in
January and recommended by the World Health Organization. If our President
drinks arsenic, Americans would be concerned.
In addition, the White House press corps and the President's staff may want
to know what's in the water when they visit McLennan County.
Perhaps President Bush only drinks bottled water.
Perhaps he's installed a filteration system that protects himself and his
Perhaps White House physicians are monitoring his water.
The big question: Does President Bush take precautions that he said other
Americans don't deserve?
In McLennan County, home to Bush's ranch, at least five communities report
concentrations of arsenic higher than those set by the EPA in January, and
rejected by Bush in March:
-- Moores Water System: Exceeds arsenic standard by 43 percent
-- The City of Mart: Exceeds arsenic standard by 38 percent
-- MS Water Supply Corporation: Exceeds arsenic standard by 6 percent
-- E.O.L. Water Supply Corporation: Exceeds arsenic standard by 28 percent
-- Axtell Water Supply Corporation: Exceeds arsenic standard by 10 percent.
Last month, President Bush rejected scientific safeguards that would reduce
arsenic levels in drinking water. In the wake of his decision, the Sierra
Club warns him that the drinking water at his ranch may exceed the levels
set by those scientific standards. For more on Bush's failure to protect
our families from drinking arsenic, please see:
Drinking water with even low levels of arsenic can cause skin, bladder, lung and prostate cancer.
For more information, please call Allen Mattison at 202-675-7903.
FACTS ABOUT ARSENIC:
-- According to the National Academy of Sciences, long-term exposure to low
concentrations of arsenic in drinking water can lead to skin, bladder, lung
and prostate cancer. Non-cancer effects of ingesting arssenic at low
levels include cardiovascular disease diabetes, and anemia, as well as
reproductive, developmental, immunological and neurological effects.
-- A 1999 National Academy of Science study stated that the current EPA
standard for arsenic "could easily" result in a cancer risk of 1 in 100 ---
about 10,000 times higher cancer risk than EPA would allow for carcinogens
in food for example.
-- Reducing acceptable levels of arsenic in drinking water to 10 parts per
billion will protect over 12 million Americans from increased cancer risk.
-- When U.S. EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman served as New
Jersey's Governor, the state's Department of Environmental Protection
recommended that homeowners whose water supply contained arsenic at half
the level set by the Clinton Administration take steps to reduce their
exposure to the poison.
U.S. GOVERNMENT ARSENIC SAFETY TIMELINE:
1942 -- Public Health Service (PHS) conducts arsenic study. This is the
science on which our current 50 parts per billion standard is based.
1962 -- PHS recommends lowering arsenic levels in drinking water to 10
1974 -- In Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress requires EPA to propose new
arsenic standards. Deadlines are missed.
1975 -- U.S. EPA sets 50 ppb standard as an "interim" measure", promising
to revise the standard promptly based on modern science.
1986 -- In Safe Drinking Water Act, Congress requires EPA to propose new
arsenic standards. Deadlines are missed.
1996 -- In Safe Drinking Water Act amendments, Congress requires EPA to
propose a new arsenic standard by Jan. 2000 and finalize it by Jan. 2001.
1999 -- National Academy of Sciences recommends revising the standard
downward "as promptly as possible."
Jan. 2001 -- After decades of regulatory development, public comment,
debate, millions of dollars in EPA research, and at least three missed
statutory deadlines (in the 1974, 1986, and 1996 Safe Drinking Water
Acts), the EPA finally issued the new 10 parts per billion standard,
matching the level set previously by the World Health Organization and the
level recommended by the U.S. Public Health Service in 1962.
March 2001 -- President Bush rejects the arsenic safety standards, saying
more studies are needed.