In the last days of his term President Clinton announced that, finally complying with a 40 year-old recommendation,the US would lower the amount of arsenic allowable in drinking water. The standard would have dropped the allowablelevel from 50 parts per billion to 10 ppb and brought it in line with World Health Organization standards.
In the first days of his presidency, Bush overturned that decision, bringing great pleasure to the mining interestwhich are one of the largest sources of arsenic pollution.
In addition to being a toxic by-product of coal and gold extraction, arsenic occurs naturally in much of America’sdrinking water. In Michigan, for example, much of the state is exposed to levels that may increase not only cancerrates, but exacerbate heart illnesses, diabetes and stroke.
To talk about the causes and effects of Bush’s decision are a scientist and a physician who have documented theproblem.
- Michael Harbut, physician teacher at Wayne State University. He treats diseases caused by environmentaland occupational toxins.
- Paul Mushak, a toxicologist and environmental health risk specialist with a toxicology practice in Durham,NC, and a visiting professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.