October 31, 2001

The Environmental Protection Agency's Request for Comments on National Drinking Water Regulations for Arsenic

  • Susan Dudley

    Director, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
Key materials
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Request for comment on a range of maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for arsenic in drinking water

Stated Purpose:

EPA is requesting comment on whether the data and technical analyses associated with the arsenic rule published in the January 22, 2001 Federal Register as well as any new information that may be available would support setting the enforceable arsenic standard at the feasible [or higher] level[s].

Summary of RSP Comment:

EPA is to be commended for the efforts it has taken to understand the health effects associated with chronic exposure to low levels of arsenic, and the costs and benefits of standards to reduce levels of arsenic in public water supplies. Since January 2001, it has commissioned three reviews of the science, costs, and benefits of the rule:

  1. "Arsenic in Drinking Water: 2001 Update," National Research Council, Subcommittee to Update the 1999 Arsenic in Drinking Water Report, September 2001.
  2. "Arsenic Rule Benefits Analysis: An SAB Review, A review by the Arsenic Rule Benefits Review Panel (ARBRP) of the US EPA Science Advisory Board (SAB)" August 2001.
  3. "Report of the Arsenic Cost Working Group to the National Drinking Water Advisory Council," August 14, 2001.

After offering brief comments on these three reports, this public interest comment discusses the opportunity costs of meeting the standard, and offers recommendations and conclusions.