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APRIL 9, 2001
10:04 AM
CONTACT:  Sierra Club
Wendy Balazik, 202-675-2383
Compassionate Environmentalists Warn President Bush: Test the Water at Your Ranch
WASHINGTON - 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 family. 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 and -- 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.


-- 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 ppb. 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.


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