DEP’s workshop on Tuesday regarding toxic chemicals regulations was somewhat predictable and somewhat infuriating.  This is not going to be a full report, which will hopefully be posted by tomorrow afternoon.  There was some good news and that’s what I’ll share first and then the rest of the story.

GOOD NEWS – The US EPA finally pushed back a little on Florida’s pro-polluter plan to allow high levels of toxic chemicals in our drinking water and in the fish we eat.  This made the latest proposed regulations for approximately 70 toxic chemicals is slightly less bad than DEP’s last proposal.  That is not much to cheer about but it is a small step forward and the first time that I have seen EPA doing anything in the public interest since Bill Clinton was President.

So For the 70 (plus or minus) human-health based toxic chemicals that are proposed for new or revised criteria, essentially all of them are at least twice as high as they should be and most are higher than EPA recommends.  Here are a couple of examples.  The full list will be posted ASAP.

CHEMICAL                CURRENT DW          FISH         PROPOSED DW       FISH
Benzene                    1.18 ug/l                     71.28         2.9 ug/L                    86 ug/l
Lindane                       .019 ug/l              .063 ug/l         12 ug/l                      21 ug/l
Chloroform                5.67 ug/l                 470 ug/l          46 ug/l                  1600 ug/l

Some of the most deadly and/or damaging chemicals such as dioxin and mercury are being completely ignored by DEP.

If you can make sense of this small example, you will quickly see that our drinking water and fish supplies are in grave danger.  The pulp and paper, and phosphate industries, as well as the coal-fired power plants are all thrilled at this radical weakening of Florida’s water quality standards.  We will need everyone’s help to stop this from happening so please watch for my regular updates and remember you can always get more information from the website:

About the Author

Linda Young has been the executive director of the Clean Water Network of Florida since 1994. From 1989 to 1997, she founded and published a monthly statewide environmental newspaper. Over the past twenty three years, she has co-founded some of the most long-lasting and effective environmental organizations in the Southeast, including the Gulf Restoration Network, Gulf Coast Environmental Defense and C.A.T.E. She holds a B.A. in Communications from Southern Oregon University and a M.A. in Political Science/Campaign Management from the University of West Florida.

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